Tropical Storm Isaias' forecast splits into very different paths

PM Skerrit speaking at a NEPO meeting earlier this year. File

Tropical Storm Isaias has officially formed in the Atlantic Ocean, the ninth named storm system of the busy 2020 hurricane season.

What to expect: The potential tropical cyclone is forecast to impact Florida with "heavy rains and strong winds arriving to South Florida as early as Friday", per the statement.

Obviously a storm staying further east would end up having a better chance at strengthening then one running up the Florida peninsula, so when it comes to intensity we return to that wait and see mode.

"The current forecast track passes 80 miles off the SC coast with Isaias as a 70 mph tropical storm on Monday", the S.C. Climate Office said Thursday. Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas Friday night and approach the Northwest Bahamas or southern Florida Friday night and Saturday.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands and parts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas.

Minor damage was reported elsewhere in Puerto Rico, where tens of thousands of people still use tarps as roofs since Hurricane Maria hit as a powerful Category 4 storm in September 2017.

The forecast path shows the center of the storm tracking northward close to the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas through Tuesday.

So, I think the main thing we will emphasize this morning is that we could have a very rainy and windy Saturday afternoon through Sunday, but there's always hope that it passes to our east giving us a lot less trouble over the weekend, and that we will know a lot more after it clears Hispaniola later tonight.

San Juan's National Weather Service said the storm was 100 miles west-southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico, by 5 am local time with sustained winds of up to 60 mph.

Urban and small stream flooding is expected for the U.S. Virgin Islands, eastern Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

That much rain raises the risk of flash flooding and deadly mudslides, forecasters said. Evacuation orders often put people in close contact with one another in shelters, which would make maintaining social distancing and other safety measures against the virus hard to maintain.

Especially hard hit by the storm's maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kph) was Puerto Rico's southern region, which is still being shaken by daily tremors.



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