The first major hurricane threat for The Bahamas in 2020 touched nearly every island along the archipelago but left the country relatively unscathed.
Hurricane Isaias, a Category 1 storm with winds reaching up to 85 miles per hour, caused flooding on some islands, including Long Island and Grand Bahama, but throughout the majority of The Bahamas, residents reported minimal damage.
In the southeastern and central Bahamas, there were reports of minor flooding, downed trees and debris, but Isaias was mild compared to hurricanes Irma and Joaquin, which both impacted the regions in recent years.
Abaconians, still traumatized by Dorian, reported minimal impact from the storm.
However, some parts of Grand Bahama had more than a foot of rainwater flooding as the storm made its exit.
While the Bahamas Meteorology Department gave the all-clear on Sunday morning, Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Reconstruction Iram Lewis on Saturday afternoon implored residents of Grand Bahama and Bimini to remain indoors.
Meteorologist Wayne Neely was critical of the decision to issue an all-clear in a Facebook post.
“In my professional opinion, the all-clear should have not been issued when they did because part of that storm conditions were still over the island of Grand Bahama,” he said.
“It was issued at 9 a.m. When I looked at the conditions attached to the storm, Freeport was still experiencing the southern end of the storm and many persons called me from Freeport stating they were experiencing thunderstorms and strong gusty winds.
“[In] my humble opinion, they should have waited for another three hours to allow that storm and its accompanying weather associated with it and its southern fringes, to clear Grand Bahama.”
However, with no reported injuries or deaths, Grand Bahama also fared well.
When the island was put under a tropical storm warning on Thursday, it was in the midst of a two-week lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Grand Bahama, where many still live in unrepaired homes and tents after Dorian, has been identified as a hotspot for COVID-19 in the country’s second wave of infections.
The confluence of events rendered the island particularly vulnerable, as some residents were hesitant to venture out to secure supplies, or seek refuge in shelters due to fears of contracting the coronavirus.
While Bahamians may have breathed a collective sigh of relief on Sunday, given the country’s weakened financial state as a result of Dorian and the pandemic, many await the remaining months of the 2020 hurricane season with bated breath.
AccuWeather, a commercial weather forecasting service in the US, said its hurricane team is “now projecting 20-24 named tropical storms” for 2020, “of which nine to 11 are expected to become hurricanes”. The weather service had previously predicted 14 to 18 tropical storms, with seven to nine predicted to become hurricanes.
So far, there have been nine named storms in the Atlantic, up to July 29.