Hurricane Isaias: What to expect in Brevard County

Storm should be in area Sunday afternoon

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County is now under a hurricane warning, according to News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells.

On Friday evening, Hurricane Isaias slowly made a shift to the west prompting officials at the National Weather Service to initiate the warning.

A watch means conditions could be seen while a warning means these conditions are expected

[LIVE TRACK: Forecast cone, computer models, updates and more for Hurricane Isaias]

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said the storm is still projected to be a Category 1 storm.

"It's still fighting some sheer and drier air as it continues to lift northwest," said Derrick Weitlich of the National Weather Service in Melbourne. "We're not expecting it to strengthen to a Category 2. It's fighting an unfriendly environment and it's unlikely to have significant strengthening."

Brevard County will start seeing conditions deteriorate Saturday night.

Hurricane Isaias 2 p.m. Friday forecast track and cone of uncertainty.
Hurricane Isaias 2 p.m. Friday forecast track and cone of uncertainty. (WJXT/The Weather Authority)

The storm will start impacting the peninsula around Miami Saturday morning, working its way up the coast and arriving with strong winds in Brevard County around 6 to 8 p.m.

Brevard County is 72 miles long — the longest county in the state — so impacts will be seen in the south area earlier than other areas.

“Winds on the western side can drop off significantly, so the barrier islands will see the stronger impacts,” Weitlich said. “As you get further inland the winds drop off. Especially since there’s some uncertainty of the track and intensity, everyone in Brevard County should make preparations for a Category 1 hurricane.”

[READ: State of emergency declared on Florida’s east coast as Hurricane Isaias approaches | Here’s where you can get free sandbags in Central Florida]

The storm continues to have sustained winds of 75 mph as it begins its turn northward. A Category 1 storm is classified as having winds between 74-95 mph.

Maximum wind forecasts came down slightly, and are expected to be around 85 mph Saturday.

The latest models have the eye skirting the Brevard County coast around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Brevard County has not been hit by hurricane-force sustained winds in 40 years, according to information obtained by FLORIDA TODAY in 2019 from the Brevard County Emergency Management office.

However, there is a possibility Isaias could change that.

“It’s possible, but again it depends on the exact track of the system,” Weitlich said. “There’s a slight difference on how the center is tracking. If the eye were closer and still had Category 1 hurricane winds as it nears the coast, the possibility of sustained hurricane force winds is there, especially on the barrier islands as it moves along coast.”

On Friday, Brevard County leaders opened four locations for residents to get sand bags:

  • Eastern Florida State College, Palm Bay campus, 250 Community College Parkway SE.
  • Calvary Chapel, Melbourne, Viera campus, 2852 Fellowship Place.
  • Mitchell Ellington Park, 575 West Hall Road, Merritt Island.
  • Chain of Lakes Park, 2300 Truman Scarborough Way, Titusville.

“I’m concerned about my business because where we back up there’s an alley back there, and everything can come right through my doors,” said Michelle Rogers of Melbourne. “I just don’t want the flooding.”

Brevard County spokesman Don Walker told News 6 preparing for a hurricane in the middle of a pandemic presents challeges.

For example, the county will not be activating its emergency operations center because it’s too risky.

“Normally during a hurricane or an activation for a storm like this we’ve got about 250 people in our emergency operation center,” he said. “Obviously during a pandemic that’s something we have to consider that we would be putting a lot of people in harms way.”

According to News 6 media partner Florida Today, Hurricane David in 1979 was the last storm to bring hurricane-force sustained winds.

Since David, four decades of subsequent cyclones generated only tropical storm-force sustained winds within county borders. Tropical storm winds range from 39 to 73 mph.

That’s not to say Brevard County has not had hurricane-force gusts, but nothing sustained since the Jimmy Carter administration.

We will be updating this throughout the day as new data is released.

While a minor update will be issued at 8 p.m, the next major update will be at 11 p.m.

Go to ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane to keep up with the latest on the storm.

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