Storm watch: State update, 11:30 a.m. Friday
At 11 a.m. Friday, Tropical Storm Isaac was located approximately 903 miles southeast of Miami. Isaac is currently moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph, but it is expected to turn to the northwest tonight. High pressure responsible for steering Isaac is weakening and shifting east.
Computer model track guidance is in good agreement and many of these, along with the official NHC forecast, take Tropical Storm Isaac on a northwest course across southern Haiti tonight and then across eastern and central Cuba on Saturday.
Isaac is then forecast to emerge into the Florida Straits early Sunday morning and move over or near the Lower Florida Keys late Sunday night. Isaac should continue a northwest motion into the eastern Gulf of Mexico before making a turn more towards the north or Northeast on Wednesday, eventually making landfall somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and southeastern Louisiana.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to 60 mph. Although Isaac remains poorly organized, there is still time for Isaac to strengthen today before starting to get disrupted by land. Any land interaction with Haiti tonight and Cuba tomorrow will likely weaken the storm. If Isaac remains intact, however, warm water in the Florida Straits will allow for some re-strengthening once it emerges from Cuba. There is a 25% chance that Isaac could become a hurricane before reaching the U.S. Gulf Coast and a 40% chance it stays a tropical storm.
Tropical Storm Joyce weakened to a tropical depression Thursday night. At 11 a.m. Friday, Tropical Depression Joyce lost its tropical characteristics and was downgraded to a remnant low. Joyce was located 1030 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds remain near 35mph. Joyce is moving northwest at 16mph and this motion with an increase in forward speeds is expected to continue through Sunday before turning more to the north on a track towards Bermuda.
A tropical wave in the far eastern Atlantic is producing a large area of showers and thunderstorms. Additional development is possible over the next few days as it moves west or west-northwest at 15mph, and the National Hurricane Center is now forecasting a 30% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 2 days. Initial computer models take 97L westward through the central Atlantic through the next 5 days and have it intensifying into a tropical storm in 2-3 days. The next name on the 2012 storm list is Kirk. For more information from the National Hurricane Center, click here.
The frontal boundary that brought the rain yesterday is lifting out of the area and high pressure and drier air will be taking its place. As a result, rain chances will be lower than normal, ranging between 10%-30%, for North and Central Florida. For South Florida, rain chances will be near normal at 40%. A severe weather outbreak is not expected, but a few isolated storms may become strong or even reach severe thresholds. These storms will be capable of producing frequent lightning, gusty winds, and small hail. In addition, these storms could move slowly which would produce heavy rainfall.
At the coast, higher winds and waves will generate a moderate risk of rip currents for Panhandle beaches from Escambia County through Okaloosa County as well as the beaches across Southeast Florida. Otherwise, the remaining Florida beaches will see a low risk of rip currents.
Source: Florida Division of Emergency Services