Written by Mary Katherine Westmark Wednesday, 22 August 2012 20:22
At 5pm EDT Wednesday, Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 25 miles south-southeast of Guadeloupe, or approximately 1,559 miles from Miami, Florida.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph and Isaac is moving quickly westward at 22 mph. Tropical storm winds extend up to 80 miles from the center.
This general motion is expected to continue for the next 2-3 days as it is steered around the southern edge of a large high pressure system in the central Atlantic Ocean.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes Tropical Storm Isaac across the Leeward Islands through the next few hours. The storm is then forecast to pass near or south of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday. Isaac is then forecast to approach the Dominican Republic Thursday night and Friday.
Beyond that time, high pressure should weaken, which will allow Isaac to curve northwest towards Hispaniola and eastern Cuba. Some models have it curving earlier, moving towards the Bahamas, while others still signal a more westward movement towards the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Conditions are becoming increasingly favorable to promote strengthening (wind shear decreasing and warmer ocean temperatures), and Isaac should become a hurricane within the next 24-48 hours.
Any land interaction with Haiti and Cuba could disrupt the storm and allow it to weaken, but warm water in the Florida Straits will allow for some re-strengthening.
It is important to note that computer model guidance, especially beyond 72 hours, can be unreliable.
Several Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance missions will be deployed tonight and tomorrow that will help computer models get into better agreement and increase confidence in the long-range track and intensity.
Elsewhere, Tropical Depression Ten developed in the central Atlantic this morning. As of 5pm EDT, TD 10 was located 920 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph and some strengthening is forecast over the next couple of days. TD 10 may become Tropical Storm Joyce tonight.
This storm is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph and this general motion is expected to continue through the next couple of days. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes this system on a west-northwest track through the central Atlantic, moving north of the Leeward Islands in 4-6 days before curving northward.
It is too early to tell if Tropical Storm Isaac will directly impact Florida or the extent of any affects. Everyone should continue to closely monitor this system.
There are no tropical watches or warnings in effect for Florida, but much of the Florida Peninsula is now within the 5 day error cone.
Portions of Southeast Florida from Palm Beach to Key West now have a 20-30% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds within the next 5 days, with areas further north to Sarasota and Cocoa Beach having a 10-20% chance. Tampa currently has a 14% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds and Tallahassee has a 5% chance. All of Florida currently has less than a 5% chance of seeing hurricane force winds within 5 days.
A weak stalled frontal boundary will continue to a threat for heavy rainfall across portions of the central Florida Peninsula tomorrow. A Flood Watch remains in effect for West Central Florida through 8pm tonight and through 8pm Thursday night for the Nature Coast where an additional 2-3 inches of rain may fall.
Run-off from daily rainfall will move into already swollen rivers and a Flood Warning is in effect for 4 Florida rivers.
Click here to view storm related graphics. Another update will be issued Thursday Morning.
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