Tropical Storm / Hurricane Isaac – Update #1
It’s been twenty-four hours since the last update, and Tropical Storm Isaac has now crossed the northern Lesser Antilles and entered the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
According to the latest advisory by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Tropical Storm Isaac is about 270 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The tropical cyclone is currently tracking to the west at 20 mph. Right now Tropical Storm Isaac still has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, keeping it at the lower end of the 39-73 mph wind speed requirement for classification as a tropical storm.
The official forecast is still keeping Florida in the sights of Tropical Storm Isaac. The forecast has shifted slightly to the west and now places the tropical cyclone possibly striking the Gulf Coast of Florida. The timing with this storm is rather interesting as this Monday starts the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
The increase in convection above the center of rotation and decrease in wind shear should allow the storm to continue to strengthen for the next two days. Tropical Storm Isaac will most likely strengthen to hurricane strength before crossing over western Haiti and then the island of Cuba.
The big question with Tropical Storm Isaac is where exactly it’ll pass over Cuba. If the tropical cyclone makes its turn to the north and stays over the mountainous terrain of Cuba, passing over most of the island, then it will greatly diminish in strength and not be much of a threat to Florida and the southeastern U.S.
However, if the path of the storm shifts a little further to the west and the storm makes more of a perpendicular cut across a small section of western Cuba, then the storm will maintain its strength and could strengthen into a major hurricane upon entering the Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say, residents of the Gulf Coast would be greatly concerned at that point.
Tropical Storm Isaac’s path is going to depend on when the subtropical ridge over Florida breaks. Some of the computer models favor the ridge breaking soon and the storm making its turn to the north within a day or two. However, some of the other models keep the ridge strong for a little bit longer, forcing the storm over western Cuba.
Lately it seems like the trend is calling for these tropical cyclones to actually pass further west than the official forecasts by the National Hurricane Center. If that trend continues with Tropical Storm Isaac, then Gulf Coast residents from New Orleans through Tampa, Florida, should keep a very close eye on this storm.
A HURRICANE WARNING currently exists for the following locations:
- The southern part of the Dominican Republic
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING currently exists for the following locations:
- Puerto Rico
- British Virgin Islands
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- islands in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH currently exists for the following location:
- the southeastern Bahamas