1. Intensity - As expected, the appearance of Isaac has improved and that has been reflected in the overall strength of the storm. As of the 4pm update from the National Hurricane Center, maximum sustained wind is up to 65 mph and minimum central pressure has dropped to 994 mb. Little additional strengthening is expected until after the storm passes Cuba. Some weakening is likely if it passes over enough land (esp. Cuba).
2. Motion - After moving generally westerly for a couple of days, Isaac made it's turn to the northwest as it moves into a weakness in the high pressure ridge it was moving to the south of previously. This sets it's course across Haiti and Cuba as it gets ready to head into generally towards south Florida this weekend.
|Mid-afternoon Friday visible satellite image of Isaac and it's approximate forecast path. Note the better organization of the storm than shown in yesterday's blog post.|
|Friday afternoon computer model tracks showing potential paths. All eyes are on the FL panhandle, though south Florida and the Florida Gulf Coast need to also be on high alert.|
|4pm CDT "official" hurricane track from NHC. Courtesy Weather Underground. Any more rightward (east) shift in the first day or so will place much of South FL in a higher risk.|
South Florida in particular needs to start preparing as Tropical Storm Watches have been issued from south of Fort Myers around the southern tip of the state to north of West Palm Beach, including all inland areas from Lake Okeechobee south. There is enough warm water between the current location and the tip of Florida (and less land area to traverse) that a hurricane-strength storm would cause major issues for places from Fort Myers to Fort Lauderdale. NHC leaves open the possibility of Hurricane Watches for south Florida with any further eastward shift in the track.
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