We now under a HURRICANE WARNING from Destin to New Orleans as Isaac tracks past the Florida Keys. Most models have a landfall on the northern Gulf Coast late Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions possible during the day on Tuesday out ahead of the system. As far as the track is concerned, it’s an either/or scenario. Two reliable European models continue to forecast the storm will be picked up by a trough over the SE and pull the storm into South Alabama. All of the other reliable models have the trough missing Isaac and the storm continuing it’s northwestward path towards SE LA. If you look at the NHC official track it’s a compromise between those two scenarios witha landfall in Mississippi. At this point, it’s too early to tell which one of these scenarios might be right so we need be getting ready!
The intensity forecast is always more problamatic, but most models continue to trend towards a Category 1 (75-95 mph) or a Category 2 (96-110 mph). A lot of that depends on the exact track of the storm over the Gulf.
The weather will stay nice through Monday night giving us a window of time to prepare.
The FOX10 News Stormtracker Radar Center will be busy this weekend as our team of meterologists keeps an eye on Isaac.
Whether it’s a tropical storm or a hurricane, we’ll make sure you’re in the loop through tweets, Facebook posts, stories on the web and on Fox 10. I’ve been doing double duty as a photographer, shooting video updates on my iPhone with Jason between newscasts and posting them on Facebook and Twitter.
We all hope the storm just disappears, but if it doesn’t, we’ll be ready to do our part to keep you and your family safe.
As of 4pm, Tropical Storm Isaac is again slightly stronger with winds of 65mph. The storm is better organized, and the central pressure has dropped to 994 mb. Forward motion is now a more certain n’west at 16 mph. The forecast track is now a bit more to the east, but still includes all of our area. It is still expected to become a Category One hurricane in the Gulf next week.
Changes in the long range forecast track are expected. The poorly defined center of Isaac has repeatedly reformed to the south a few times, altering the storms actual position. The elongated system has also wobbled a good bit through the eastern Caribbean. Each wobble and change in position can make a big change in the predicted forecast track. The models shifted again today, this time more to the east. Expect more changes in the forecast. We will have a much clearer idea on the outcome of Isaac by Sunday.
The intensity forecast is also very tricky. This rather broad storm is not expected to rapidly intensify before reaching Cuba Saturday. It will spend a good bit of time over Cuba. The specific track across the mountains of s’east Cuba will have a big impact on the amount of weakening that will occur. The tallest peaks in the island nation are located in the Sierra Maestra and Sierra Cristal ranges, with some peaks above 6,000 ft. We do see a favorable environment for strengthening when Isaac eventually reaches the Florida straits and the Eastern Gulf. The interaction with the higher terrain could really disrupt the inner mechanics of the system , making reorganization over the Gulf more difficult.
Tropical Storm Isaac continues to head west in the Caribbean Sea this evening. The system appears symmetrical on satellite imagery and is in a favorable environment for strengthening. Despite the low shear/warm water conditions surrounding Isaac, the system is still a minimal Tropical Storm. Only moderate strengthening is anticipated before the system reaches the higher terrain of Haiti Friday. The storm will also spend a good 24hours over the very land area of Cuba from midday Saturday to midday Sunday. If the system is able to survive all the land interaction, it would be in a more favorable environment for strengthening in the Eastern Gulf Monday and Tuesday of next week.
Forecast models onced placed the storm over south Florida by the weekend. The trough expected to help draw the system northward is weaker, and also a bit further west than expected. This has resulted in a significant change in the forecast track among the major computer models. The intensity forecast is very uncertain considering the amount of land interaction, and the current disorganized state of the tropical storm. One other potential issue with this system is that the steering currents get a lot lighter by mid week. It is possible Isaac could eventually stall somewhere in the gulf or the Deep South mid-week next week.
Every week is a full one, but next week will overflow!
In addition to everything I do during a normal week, I’ll be back at Spring Hill College for another semester teaching one course in Multimedia Journalism. My classroom is a hot-tech dream, complete with a touch-screen that controls the DVD, video projector and other electronics. I’ve been returning to SHC, more or less every year since 1986. Over the years, at least 13 former students have graduated and become co-workers at FOX 10!
No semester is ever the same as the last. There is always something new to teach, whether it’s adjusting to the transition from tape to disk or watching local radio news slowly fade away while web news becomes more important. As always, the bedrock is writing.
As always, I’m trying to become the first adjunct instructor to get tenure. Then take a sabbatical
I’ll also be leading some in-house training here at FOX10 on writing for the web, which certainly isn’t like writing for print or even TV.
It’s still active in the tropics, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll get any action from the named systems… BUT an unnamed system tracking across Florida will be increasing our rain chances the next few days, so that’s where we’ll start with the tropical update….
Really just a trough of low pressure at this point, but it is carrying a lot of tropical moisture across the state. This moisture will be running into a front that will be working it’s way into the deep south on Monday. So, you take tropical moisture, you lift it with a front and you’re likely to get quite a few showers and storms. After just a few showers over the weekend, rain chances go up to 60% for Monday and Tuesday as we deal with that tropical moisture.
TROPICAL STORM FLORENCE
Still way out in the Atlantic, this storm continues to be poorly organized and struggling to survive. Dry air is wrapping into the system disrupting it’s circulation. This storm won’t effect us and it likley won’t effect anyone else ether as most of the models call for it dissipate in a few days.
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO
The forecast for Ernesto has improved for our area. Ernesto has weakened because it simply won’t slow down. The storm is moving west at 23 mph which is hampering the circulation and creating it’s own wind shear. The forward movement is expected to slow down the next few days, but it’s unlikely the storm will become a hurricane as it will be too close to Central America to intensify. Since Ernesto is weak, it’s also less likely to be picked by a trough over the Gulf of Mexico and carried north. So the most likely scenario is that Ernesto will move over Belize and into Mexico and then dissipate. There is still time for that to change but the chances are low.
So much activity in the tropics! We have four areas were tracking, two of which are named systems at this point…
GULF OF MEXICO AND BAHAMA’S DISTURBANCE
First let’s start in the Gulf. There is an Upper-Level Low spinning and creating a lot of rain and storminess off the Louisiana coast. Tropical systems don’t like upper-level lows because they create too much shear, but these systems can create a lot of rain when they have tropical moisture to deal with and that’s what this one will do just to the west of us.
In the Bahamas, is disturbance 91L. This is a weak, poorly organized system that is spreading rain into East Florida. Since this system is so disorganized the models can’t get a handle on what it’s going to do. Some take it north along Florida’s East Coast. Some carry it across Florida into the Northern Gulf. Whichever way it goes, this storm is unlikely to grow into anything significant, but could bring us more rain early next week if it tracks towards us.
Tropical Storm Florence developed quickly from a tropical wave off the African coast and is now moving due west in the far Atlantic. Further development will be slow due to dry air wrapping into the storm and strong wind shear in the upper levels. The forecast is for this storm to eventually make a move more to the northwest. It’s unlikely this one will make it into the Gulf, but folks on the East Coast will have to monitor it going into next weekend.
AND THEN THERE WAS ERNESTO…
Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to look more ferocious than it is as it tracks through the Eastern Caribbean. Although shear is low and water temperatures are warm, dry air has been wrapping into this system limiting it’s strengthening. Because of this, the models have very little grip on the forecast strength of this storm and this is very important for where it will ultimately go. Check out the model tracks. They are pretty consistent on taking Ernesto to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico early Wednesday morning… It’s after that the uncertainty comes into play. Essentially, if Ernesto is weak it will likely strike the southern Yucatan and fizzle out, but if Ernesto grows into a hurricane it’s more likely the steering flow in the upper levels of the atmosphere will cause it to strike the northern Yucatan and then hold together into the southern Gulf where it could possibly threaten our area by late in the week. Regardless of what happens we have time here to watch, track, and possibly prepare for this system. Stay tuned and we will keep bringing you the latest information.
Tropical Depression Number Five was upgraded to Tropical Storm Ernesto this afternoon. A Hurricane Hunter Aircraft found evidence of winds at 50 mph sustained. Upper winds are only marginally conducive for strengthening over the next two days. Ernesto should continue on a westward course as it’s steered by the mid/upper ridge over the western Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ernesto could eventually become a hurricane by the weekend or early next week. The long range forecast has the system near the Yucatan by Thursday of next week.
Tropical Depression #5 has formed 850 miles east of the Windward Islands. This system will head generally west-northwest over the next 3-5 days. An upper low to the north of the depression should limit strengthening this week. The system could get stronger over the weekend, depending on the upper level environment in the Caribbean. If it holds together, the system should be near Cuba or the Yucatan by the middle of next week.