BREAKING: Hurricane Isaias barrels towards The Bahamas, Florida

Hurricane Isaias, at the moment it upgraded in strength, as seen from an infrared satellite. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

After several days of struggling to gather momentum, Hurricane Isaias has formed just after midnight Friday (July 31), becoming the second major storm as it barrels towards sections of The Bahamas and Florida this weekend.

According to a 1:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Isaias was located near latitude 20.6 North, longitude 72.7 West—or 70 kilometres southeast of Great Iguana Island.

The second hurricane of the 2020 north Atlantic season is currently packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometres/hour, with higher gusts; the massive storm continues to creep northwest at 30 kilometres/hour.

The entire commonwealth of the Bahamas – from the northwest to the southeast – has been placed on a hurricane warning, just as the country still recovers from the devastating aftermath of the passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

The NHC further indicated that the tropical storm warning remains in effect for the entire north and south coastline of Dominican Republic; Turks and Caicos Islands; as well as the north coast of Haiti, stretching from Môle Saint-Nicolas eastward to the border with Dominican Republic.

A tropical storm watch also stays in place for the east coast of Florida, from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet as well as Lake Okeechobee.

The current trajectory of Hurricane Isaias sees the massive system punching its way through The Bahamas before grazing the east coast of Florida this weekend. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for Google Maps)

On the forecast track, the NHC, noting that conditions are favourable for Isaias to remain a hurricane for the next couple of days, expects the centre the massive system will move near or over the southeast Bahamas overnight.

“Isaias is forecast to be near the central Bahamas Friday night and move near or over the northwest Bahamas and near south Florida on Saturday,” the US-based NHC advised.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 kilometres from Isaias’ centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 390 kilometres, the agency added.