Storm Isaias lashes the Bahamas as it bears down on Florida

Isaias strengthened slightly as it lashed the Bahamas Saturday, bearing down on Florida where it’s expected to approach the southeastern part of the state Saturday night before traveling up the U.S. East Coast.

Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Saturday afternoon but was expected to re-strengthen to a hurricane overnight.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Saturday said he declared a state of emergency for a dozen counties on the Atlantic coast.

He warned that even if there are slight variations in its path, it was important to stay vigilant as the state grapples with one of the country's worst coronavirus outbreaks.

“Even if the eye of the storm stays off the coast, there is of course going to be impacts. We're talking about Hurricane or Tropical Storm force winds, so folks need to be prepared for that."

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency as Isais is expected to hit the Carolinas early next week.

The storm was carrying top sustained winds of 80 miles per hour as it hit the Bahamas.

On Friday, streets were flooded in Turks and Caicos Islands as Hurricane Isaias lashed across the Caribbean.

The storm has caused at least two deaths in the Dominican Republic and knocked out power for thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico, according to local media.