Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Isaias made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane on Monday night and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved over land, but forecasters say it remains a threat as it nears the New York City area.
Hurricane-force wind gusts were reported as the eyewall went ashore in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., Monday night, with the highest gust reported over land at 93 mph.
While the hurricane was approaching, the storm spawned a tornado that touched down on Bald Head Island, N.C. As Monday night progressed, numerous tornado warnings were issued across eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia as rain bands from Isaias spiraled inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. Tuesday update that the storm was continuing to batter portions of eastern North Carolina with strong winds as it moved north-northeast at 28 mph. It maintained maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
Rain is likely to spread northward over New York City and into the Boston area during the day on Tuesday. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency for Tuesday morning ahead of the storm.
"On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will to move into southeastern Virginia early this morning, near or along the coast of the mid-Atlantic states today, and across the northeastern United States into southern Canada tonight," the NHC said in its advisory early Tuesday.
In terms of wind, the strongest gusts will occur east of the track of Isaias and can reach strong tropical storm force along the immediate coasts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York state, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine as the storm accelerates northeastward.
"Frequent wind gusts of 40-60 mph are expected from southeastern Virginia to southeastern New England," Miller said.
All told, Isaias is predicted to cause between $2 billion and $3 billion in damage and economic loss, according to AccuWeather founder and CEO Joel N. Myers.
The center of Isaias may pass rather close to New York City, which would be the second storm of the season to do so following Tropical Storm Fay in early July.
"The last time there have been two named tropical systems pass so close in the same season was in 1985 when Gloria and Henri passed over Long Island, New York," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
"In 1960, Brenda and Donna passed within 40 miles of New York City," Buckingham added.
One of the main threats for the areas from Virginia to Maine will be from torrential rain that can lead to flash, urban and small-stream flooding.
"An increase in forward speed is expected through Wednesday and the swath of heaviest rain will shift from east of the center to the northern and western part of the storm as it moves over land in the Carolinas and track through coastal areas of the Northeast states," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller explained.
Following its impact on the U.S., Isaias is forecast to spread a swath of rain and gusty winds rapidly through a portion of Atlantic Canada Wednesday into Thursday.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has already left its mark in history with several of the earliest-forming tropical storms on record. Cristobal, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias all set early-season formation records for their respective letter. All of the July-forming storms from Edouard through Isaias broke the records set during the infamous 2005 season.
Hanna became the first hurricane of the 2020 season, and Isaias became the second.
There is a high potential that the 2020 season could become "hyperactive" as the peak of hurricane season nears and tropical storm numbers may end up rivaling the historic 2005 season numbers, which produced 28 storms. AccuWeather meteorologists are already monitoring a few areas of disturbed weather beyond Isaias.