3:00 PM | Update on Tropical Storm Isaac; should be on alert from the Florida Gulf coast to the central Gulf coast
Isaac is now a tropical storm and will continue to intensify over the next couple of days. Latest measurements have the winds sustained at 45 mph with gusts up to 60 as it continues on a westward track at 20 mph. Isaac should reach the vicinity of the island of Hispaniola by Friday likely as a hurricane. Isaac should then continue on a track towards southern Cuba possibly crossing that island over the weekend. This track near or directly over these two islands, Hispaniola and Cuba, should prevent substantial intensification in this late week time period. Climatologically speaking, tropical systems coming from this part of the Caribbean tend to swing either to the east of the Florida Peninsula or to the west. Latest indications to me suggest the western route is more likely. Indeed, once Isaac clears Cuba it could very well move towards the southern Florida Keys and then over the eastern or even central portions of the Gulf of Mexico. Once back over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Isaac will likely begin another intensification phase so all eyes from the Florida Keys to the Florida Gulf coast to the central Gulf coast should continue to closely monitor this situation over the next few days. The expected time frame for Isaac to approach the Florida Keys and the eastern/central Gulf of Mexico is likely next Monday and/or Tuesday. Elsewhere, another tropical depression has formed behind Isaac out in the Atlantic and it is likely to become a named tropical storm (Joyce) within 24 hours and should take a track much farther to the north of Isaac. Ultimately, perhaps by the mid-to-latter part of next week, the remains of Isaac could become a rainmaker for the Mid-Atlantic.