Cyclone Isaias reaches Canada after killing at least five in the US

At least five people have been killed as Tropical Storm Isaias swept through US states on the Atlantic Coast.

Two died when a tornado struck a mobile home park in North Carolina and at least three more were killed in New York, Delaware and Maryland.

Isaias has since moved into south-eastern Canada and been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone.

Heavy rains meant about 46,000 residents of Quebec were without power overnight, according to Hydro Quebec.

The ninth named storm of the year, Isaias hit Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic with hurricane strength winds last week killing at least two people. It uprooted trees, destroyed crops and homes and caused flooding and landslides.

Manhattan residents sought shelter from the rain and high winds
Manhattan residents sought shelter from the rain and high winds

It was downgraded to a tropical storm after passing over the Caribbean, but was re-categorised as a category-one hurricane as it approached the Carolinas on Monday.

From North Carolina up to New York, Isaias left more than 3.4 million residents without power. It spawned tornadoes, uprooted trees, damaged homes and caused floods and fires.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the north-east coast all the way to Maine, covering major cities like Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

Police in New York City said a tree fell and killed a man inside his vehicle in Queens. A driver in Maryland was also killed when a tree toppled on to the car in the storm.

Falling trees caused the deaths of at least two drivers
Falling trees caused the deaths of at least two drivers

In Delaware, an 83-year-old woman was found dead under a large branch near her home.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency and all state offices remained closed on Tuesday. In neighbouring New York, state authorities deployed emergency supplies including pumps, chainsaws, bottled water and sandbags throughout the state.

Facing a natural disaster in a pandemic

State officials in regions preparing for hurricanes this season have been grappling with opening shelters that comply with social distancing regulations. US disaster agencies have updated preparedness and evacuation guidance in light of Covid-19.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends families add Covid-19 items to a disaster “go kit” that can be taken in an emergency situation:

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Soap (liquid or bar)
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • At least two face coverings per person (though masks should not be worn by those under two years old or those who are unconscious)

Here are some key guidelines for protecting yourself against Covid-19 if you must evacuate to a shelter:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Keep 6ft (2m) of distance from anyone not among your household
  • If possible, wear a face covering and wash it regularly
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks
  • Frequently disinfect your area in the shelter (including toys and electronics)

Source: BBC