TS Isaac Forms in Atlantic; Strengthening Expected; Could Hit Florida: NHC

August 22, 2012

For the past week the National Hurricane Center in Miami has been monitoring a low pressure system that formed off the Cape Verde Islands. Late yesterday it coalesced into a tropical storm, which has been given the name Isaac.

As of 5:00 a.m. AST its center was still in the Atlantic, but Isaac is moving toward the west at around 18 mph, 30 km/h, and “this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days,” said the NHC. “On the forecast track the center of Isaac should move through the Leeward Islands this evening, and move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday.”

Isaac is not yet a powerful storm. Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, 75 km/h, with higher gusts. However the NHC expects some strengthening “during the next 48 hours, and Isaac could become a hurricane by Thursday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles, 75 km, from the center.”

The NHC is also tracking another low pressure system currently located around 650 miles, 1040 km, west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, which it said has a 90 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone.

On the forecast track Isaac would pass directly over most of the islands in the northeast Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Cuba and the Bahamas. If it continues on the projected path, it would approach the Florida Keys early Monday morning and the mainland later in the day.

The government of the Dominican Republic has already issued a hurricane watch for the country’s south coast from Isla Saona westward to the Haiti-Dominican Republic southern border.

The NHC noted that tropical storm warnings are in effect for Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe and the surrounding islands, as well as St. Martin, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin islands. If the storm strengthens, areas potentially at risk would issue hurricane watches and warnings.

Source: National Hurricane Center

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