As of 11 am EDT, Isaac was about 40 miles east of Guantanamo, Cuba and was officially reported to be moving to the northwest (315 degrees) at 17 mph. However, the track of the center of circulation, based on radar and satellite, has appeared to wobble about a bit. Isaac's pressure has also increased to 998 mb while the maximum winds have remained at 60 mph.
|Guantanamo Bay Radar|
Very little has changed in my thoughts over the past 48 hours. The biggest difference is the track with regards to Cuba. At this time, similar to last evening, I expect the center of circulation to track along the northern coast of Cuba, mainly just off shore. This will reduce the overall impact of the Cuban terrain on the storm and in turn will allow Isaac to recover and reestablish itself as it moves into the Straits of Florida. I would not be surprised to see Isaac as a strong tropical storm with near hurricane force winds or even a weak category 1 hurricane as he passes through the Florida Keys, Sunday evening.
Once past the keys, there will be no more land to hinder Isaac's development and just plenty of very warm water to help fuel it. Additionally, the weak front/trough I had discussed, Friday, as possibly turning or pushing Isaac further east doesn't look as if it will have much if any impact, now, on Isaac. And since this is the way I was leaning yesterday I am not changing my overall forecast track and intensity thoughts. I am continuing to forecast a general northwest track into the eastern Gulf of Mexico through Monday before a turn more northerly occurs on Tuesday. This track will take Isaacs's center of circulation near Pensacola, Florida and I will remain with stating I expect the "eye" to pass within 50 miles of Pensacola.
|Note: My Forecast not that of NHC|
Regarding intensity, I still anticipate Issac to strengthen into a strong category 2 hurricane, possibly even briefly reaching "Major" status as a weak category 3 hurricane with winds near 110 mph by Tuesday morning. As the hurricane approaches the coast, water temperatures are cooler and I predict that Isaac will weaken some with winds around 100 mph at landfall.
One thing interesting to note, as I have been watching the model runs, the European (ECMWF)has been fairly run-to-run consistent with a track to near Mobile Bay. The latest morning run of the American GFS now as a similar track. If this trend would continue the track of my forecast may have to be tweaked a bit west but I am not ready to quite do that, yet.