People in Palm Beach County head to beach, prepare for Isaias’ arrival

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Some people in Palm Beach County went to the beach ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias’ arrival, while others picked up last-minute supplies at stores across the county.

The weather at Palm Beach had started to clear up at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the only downpours that have occurred have been fairly short.

“We’ve lived here for 16 years, and we’ve been through worse,” Tara Bamber said.

“We’re South Floridians,” a beachgoer said. “We know how to handle it.”

County officials said between Tropical Storm Isaias and the coronavirus pandemic, it is a lot to contend with.

“I know it’s a lot to contend with as a community,” Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner said. “We hope that the storm doesn’t strengthen as it moves through the coastal waters off of Florida.”

COVID-19 cancelled the concert the Stephenson family, who are from Georgia, were planning to attend, and Tropical Storm Isaias threatens their vacation. Despite the beach being closed, they and many others went out onto the sand.

“You know, there’s always next year, but we’re here for the ride, and hopefully, it won’t get too bad,” Brittany Stephenson said. “If it does, well, we’ll ride it out like everybody else.”

Surfers took to the water early Saturday morning, hoping to catch some rough surf ahead of the storm’s arrival.

The impending storm also made the sand’s temperature cooler, which encouraged some turtle hatchlings in Boynton Beach to dig out and head towards the water. They made their way into the water before the storm came through the area.

While some people went to the beach, others went to stores, such as Home Depot, to stock up on supplies. Others could be seen putting up storm shutters on the windows of their businesses.

“Just stay safe, get what you need and don’t wait too long to get it because everything seems to be going off the shelves lately,” a woman said.

One woman added that Tropical Storm Isaias’ arrival comes during unprecedented times.

“That’s something that we’ve never had to worry about before: a pandemic and hurricane season at the same time,” she said.

As the winds from the storm start to pick up, health officials are asking residents to consider shelters as a last resort.

“Because of COVID-19, we continue to feel that you are safer at home,” Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center spokesperson Bill Johnson said.

“My plans have always been to stay in the house because of COVID going on, so I just stay in the house right now to begin with,” a passer-by said.

Around 150 people have made their way to one of Palm Beach County’s four shelters.

Officials ask residents to add items such as masks, hand sanitizers and gloves to their hurricane preparedness kit.

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