Thursday, August 23, 2012
Isaac a Florida Teaser?
One thing to note is where Isaac is currently. He is tracking over wide open Caribbean Sea waters where temperatures are plenty warm to help fuel intensification. It also appears that the current westward movement will continue, with only a slight tick to the northwest, for the next 12 to 24 hours keeping him over these warm open waters. I anticipate that Isaac will only slightly strengthen, though, during this same time period. Through Friday, I expect a moderate tropical storm (winds 55 to 60 mph) to near the southern coast of Hispaniola. I do believe that Isaac will remain mainly south of Hispaniola and may only briefly cross the extreme southwest tip of the island, which would impact a portion of Haiti. Overall, I believe Issac will pass in between Hispaniola and Jamica on Friday night into Saturday. This forecast track would now be a bit south and west of the previous official track of the NHC and now close with that of the NHC.
By Saturday PM and continuing into Sunday morning, Isaac will pass over Cuba. It will likely pass over about 2/3 of the island and this will greatly impact the storm. I anticipate the storm to weaken to a weak tropical storm with winds of only about 40 mph. Likely around midday, Sunday, the center of Isaac will move back over the waters of the Straits of Florida, about 90 miles east of Havana. A northwest track across the western Gulf of Mexico is expected to continue through Monday and Tuesday morning. Landfall, as of now, appears likely to occur in between Panama City, Florida and Biloxi, Mississippi, Tuesday afternoon. I believe reintensification will occur once the storm returns over the Straits of Florida and into the western Gulf. The waters over the western Gulf of Mexico are quite warm and the storm could intensify into a category 1 or 2 hurricane before landfall with winds of around 95 to 100 mph. A big factor in this will be just how organized the system remains after crossing Cuba.