Northeast Florida and coastal Georgia will see up to 4 inches of rain.

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) — Forecasters are warning Tropical Storm Isaias could reach hurricane strength by the time it makes expected landfall near the South Carolina-North Carolina border on Tuesday.

The storm was located off the coast of Georgia early Monday morning.

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The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch Sunday evening for parts of the Carolina coast from north of Charleston, South Carolina, to north of Wilmington, North Carolina. It said hurricane conditions were possible in the area Monday night and early Tuesday.

“Isaias is expected to be near hurricane strength when it reaches the coast of northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina Monday night, and strong tropical storm force winds are likely with hurricane conditions possible in the Hurricane Watch area,” it said.

After battering Grand Bahama Island early Sunday, a tropical storm warning was in effect from Sebastian Inlet, Florida, to Ocracoke Inlet — north of Surf City, North Carolina. A tropical storm watch continues up the coast to Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

The wind and rain seemed to be dying down in Freeport, Bahamas, midday Sunday, but not before giving Sidneka Munroe a scare. Heavy rains brought floodwaters up to 3 feet high, she told CNN, and if the storm had been any stronger or longer, she fears, it would’ve damaged her and her family’s home.

“It was pretty terrifying, not knowing what to expect. The area we live in only started flooding since Dorian (in 2019), so the first sign of sunlight, it was necessary to see how bad the flooding was. This storm brought a lot of rain, for sure.”

US East Coast to get drenched

Isaias is threatening Florida with winds capable of damaging roofs and buildings and destroying some mobile homes, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

The storm will also dump up to 6 inches of water over parts of the state, and up to 8 inches in parts of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states. As it treks along the coast, Northeast Florida and coastal Georgia will see up to 4 inches of rain.

“Heavy rainfall from Isaias will continue to result in potentially life-threatening flash flooding in the Northwest Bahamas through tonight,” according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Flash and urban flooding, some of which may be significant in the eastern Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic, are expected through midweek along and near the path of Isaias across the U.S. East Coast. Widespread minor to isolated moderate river flooding is possible across portions of the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic,” the weather service said.

By the time the storm moves further north Tuesday and Wednesday, southeast New York and parts of New England could see up to 6 inches of rain.

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The system already drenched the Bahamas after crossing over Andros Island as a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning, leaving in its wake downed trees and power outages.

Earlier, some 27,000 Florida customers were without power, according to Florida Power & Light’s outage map, but by Sunday evening that number had dropped to a couple of thousand.

The company tweeted that its crews had worked through the night and were positioned along the East Coast ready to respond to outages.

States of emergency

In preparation for the storm, North Carolina and Virginia declared states of emergency, allowing officials to move resources and equipment for recovery. In Florida, the governor issued a state of emergency for several counties and encouraged all parts of the state to accept evacuees so as not to overcrowd local shelters.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper authorized up to 150 members of the state’s National Guard to be used if needed, his office said. The storm’s center could affect the state early Tuesday.

“As we learned with Hurricane Florence, even a Category 1 storm can bring severe impacts, and we should not take this lightly,” Cooper said in a statement.

State ferries were also assisting residents and visitors evacuate Ocracoke Island, where officials said there’s potential for flooding and storm surge.

In South Carolina, where the governor hasn’t ordered an emergency declaration, some local governments are gearing up for what the storm could bring.

Myrtle Beach issued a civil emergency declaration on Friday. North Myrtle Beach also declared a state of emergency Friday. In Charleston, officials said the city began reserving pumps to position in low-lying areas in the case of flooding.

In Virginia, the governor said high winds and flooding will likely impact parts of the state.

“This state of emergency will ensure localities and communities have the assistance they need to protect the safety of Virginians, particularly as we continue to deal with the Covid-19 crisis,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “I encourage Virginians to take all necessary precautions, monitor local weather forecasts, and stay alert.”

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