South Floridians should "start exploring what other opportunities or alternatives they may need to be from South Florida," Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said at a virtual press conference as a wide area of low pressure looked more likely to turn into Tropical Storm Isaias .
Tropical storm forces may arrive in Florida as early as Friday night, but Saturday is much more likely, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Miami.
Tony said that the biggest obstacle officials anticipate during the hurricane season 2020 is the ability to effectively maintain social distance while taking in a large number of people at the county's storm protection. Florida has recently seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
“The more we can do as individuals and focus on the things we can do to reduce the burden on the government will be very helpful as the mayor, the county administrator are tackling various new challenges and trying to be innovative to the point where we do not close by the government completely, but at the same time we do not allow unnecessary risks and exposures to this virus, "said Tony.
In preparation for the storm, the Florida Department of Emergency Management has said it will close all state COVID-19 test sites at the end of the workday today.
The storm cut off power to more than 300,000 customers across Puerto Rico, according to the island's electricity authority. Minor damage was reported elsewhere on the island, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs over houses damaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.