UPDATE 7:30 P.M.: Votran will offer transport to shelters; do not go to shelter unless necessary, county says. Wellness checks will be done on individuals prior to admittance.

UPDATE 6:30 P.M.: Isaias weakens to tropical storm; expected to strengthen back to category 1 hurricane overnight

From the National Weather Service:

.ISAIAS WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM... ...EXPECTED TO RE-STRENGTHEN TO A HURRICANE OVERNIGHT WHILE IT APPROACHES THE SOUTHEAST COAST OF FLORIDA... As of 5:00 PM EDT Sat Aug 1 the center of Isaias was located near 25.1, -78.7 with movement NW at 10 mph. The minimum central pressure was 993 mb with maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph.

UPDATE 6:00 P.M.: Finish preparing now, county officials say

Shelters to open at 8 a.m. tomorrow

“If you think this is going to be a non-event, that’s the worst thing you can do,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a 5:15 p.m. press conference today. “Don’t be complacent.”

While the worst of the storm will occur over Sunday night, from about 11 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday, the onset of tropical-force winds is expected begin around 3 p.m. Sunday.

“You want to be hunkered down by early afternoon tomorrow as we get tropical-force winds,” Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge said.

Finish now, while the weather is clear, Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald urged.

“According to the current forecast, we are 24 hours away from tropical storm force winds,” Recktenwald said. “People need to pay attention. I know we have had larger, more menacing storms in recent history, but this will be right on our coast.”

“You really should be, right now, making those final preparations,” Recktenwald said.

Judge also urged residents to keep an eye on the storm, as its path and intensity may change.

Isaias has wobbled slightly to the west, Judge said, and has slightly slowed down in travel speed, from 12 mph to 8 mph. The current category 1 hurricane has also fluctuated below hurricane-force winds, and back up.

“Monitor this system because it has wobbled, it could wobble again,” Judge said.

For most people, the county urges citizens to prepare now to shelter in place.

For those who cannot, however, several shelters will open at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Aug. 2), Judge said.

Beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Galaxy Middle School and Freedom Elementary will open as special-needs shelters. The Volusia County Fairgrounds will also open as a pet-friendly shelter, and for those without valid identifications. DeLand High School will open as a general population shelter.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, face-coverings will be mandatory, and hand-washing and social distancing will be required. The amount of space allotted for those at the shelter has expanded from 20 square feet to 60 square feet, Judge said, and hand sanitizer will be available.

Conditions should improve as soon as the eye of the storm passes north, Judge said. That is expected to occur by 7 a.m. Monday morning.

“This is particularly a wind event for us,” Judge said, saying that large gusts around 75 to 80 mph could be expected along the coast. Take precautions now, and remove any objects that could be flying hazards, Judge advised, and be careful.

“We have already had a couple people fall off a roof today,” Judge said.

For more information from Volusia County Emergency Management on Hurricane Isaias, click HERE.

Most likely wind arrival

The most likely arrival time of tropical-storm force winds as of 6 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS 3:30 p.m. update:

Isaias continues to move towards the area and will approach the Treasure coast late tonight through early Sunday. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Volusia and Brevard Counties including the Treasure Coast, with a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for Inland Volusia and Seminole Counties southward through Okeechobee County. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for the entire east central Florida coastline. This afternoon is the final period to complete preparations for the potential of hurricane force winds along the coast and tropical storm conditions across the interior for Sunday.

Check back to this story often for the latest updates.

UPDATE 3:30 P.M.:

Volusia County Government will hold a news conference on Hurricane Isaias and it's expected effects at 5:15 p.m. today, Aug. 1.

The briefing will be streamed live on the Volusia County Emergency Management Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VolusiaCountyEmergencyManagement/.

3:00 p.m. AUGUST 1:

Latest from the National Weather Service indicates Hurricane Isaias, currently category 1, will move offshore near the Volusia area overnight Sunday into Monday morning. Tropical storm conditions could reach inland Volusia by Sunday morning, and rain bands and gusty squalls will precede Isaias by several hours. The NWS warns that residents should complete their preparations today. 

According to the 11:45 a.m. NWS weather update:

  • Tropical storm conditions will begin to overspread coastal Volusia County late Sunday afternoon, with hurricane conditions possible from late Sunday evening through a little past midnight.
  • Tropical storm conditions are also expected to reach much of the interior of east central Florida from south to north from early Sunday morning through early Monday morning. This includes Okeechobee, Osceola, Orange, Seminole and inland Volusia County. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for these counties.
  • Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph in some of the squalls along the coast today will increase up to as high 70 to 80 mph as Isaias makes its closest approach. Farther inland, gusts could reach as high as 50 to 55 mph in squalls.