Tropical Storm Isaac Pathed to Strike Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Tropical Storm Isaac is now moving through the central Caribbean Sea with 60 mph sustained winds. Isaac is not expected to become a hurricane until after crossing the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba, and entering into the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico, early next week. Isaac is projected to intensify to hurricane strength and continue northwards west of Florida. Forecast (cumulative) probabilities of hurricane-strength winds in the Florida Keys, Tampa, and Tallahassee (for the next 5 days) remain below 5%. Isaac is expected to whip through the Caribbean Island with tropical storm winds, dumping up to 20 inches of rainfall causing flooding, life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Rainfall from Isaac is a major concern for Haiti, where hundreds of thousands of people continue to live in tents and temporary shelters following the devastating M7.0 earthquake in 2010.
Isaac is forecast to threaten the Florida Keys by late Sunday, August 26, as it moves through the Florida straits and into the Gulf of Mexico. While it is too early to predict a specific landfall location or intensity for the US mainland, an increasing consensus of forecast models indicate Isaac closing in on the northern Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane late Tuesday, August 28, 2012.
Isaac is a large storm with tropical storm force winds extending out up to 185 miles. The National Hurricane Center is giving Tampa a cumulative probability of about 31% for receiving tropical storm force winds and a 1% for receiving hurricane force winds.
Tropical Storm Isaac Potential Storm Track - August 24, 2012
Source: National Hurricane Center (NHC)
As of 11 am EDT, Friday, August 24, the center of Isaac was located at latitude 16.3N, longitude 70.8W, and was 185 miles south-southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 60 mph, and some additional strengthening may occur before reaching Hispaniola today. Isaac is moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph, and a turn to the northwest is expected later today. Isaac is no longer forecast to become a hurricane before reaching Hispaniola, and the hurricane warning for Haiti has been lowered to a hurricane watch.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and much of eastern Cuba. Haiti and the Dominican Republic could receive 8 to 12 inches of rainfall, with maximum amounts up to 20 inches from this event. These rains are likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
After passing Hispaniola, Isaac should cross eastern Cuba on Saturday and emerge into the Florida straits on Sunday. The extended forecast has Isaac passing near or over the Florida Keys late Sunday or early Monday. Once in the Gulf of Mexico, Isaac is predicted to strengthen into a hurricane before reaching the northern Gulf Coast late Tuesday or early Wednesday of next week. Extended forecasts of four and five days contain large uncertainties, and any slight changes in Isaac's track or translational speed may have a large impact on the location and timing of current projections.
EQECAT will continue to monitor this event and provide updates as more information becomes available.
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