HURRICANE ISAIAS TO IMPACT FLORIDA BEGINNING TODAY
Hurricane Isaias has slowed its forward speed a bit overnight but is basically on its forecasts track. It’s now forecast to make its closest approach to South Florida this afternoon. But the worst weather should stay well offshore.
The strongest winds will be on the other side, the east side of the storm – extending some 175 miles across the Bahamian islands and beyond – but some dangerous winds may still exist close to the center on the west side of the storm as well.
Due to Isaias’s angle of approach and the way Broward and Miami-Dade County angle back to the west, the threat of high winds is lowest in Miami-Dade, somewhat higher in Broward, then highest in Palm Beach County and north where the Florida coastline juts farther into the forecast cone.
The Tropical Storm Warnings for Broward and the coastal sections of Miami-Dade mean that winds of 40 mph or higher should be expected in part or all of those areas. The Hurricane Watch for Broward means there’s a chance that wind gusts exceed 75 mph in parts of the county, especially in northeast Broward.
Initially today, outer bands of rain with gusty winds will quickly move through, but generally the winds will be fairly light in between.
On the current schedule, the winds will increase this afternoon, as the center of Isaias approaches from the southeast. Winds will switch from east to northeast as the storm comes closer.
If the storm stays on track, the winds will be strongest from the evening into the overnight as the center makes its closest approach. Winds will eventually come from the north and the northwest and be fairly strong during the evening and for a while after midnight, especially in north Broward. Overnight, as the center of Isaias moves away to the north, winds will switch to westerly and die down.
The strongest winds in north Dade and Broward will occur when they are blowing from the northeast around to the northwest, if the storm stays on track.
In spite of the fact it will be tracking over the Gulf Stream, which can be a heat supply for an intensifying hurricane, the atmospheric conditions are fairly hostile over and around Florida. That should keep Isaias from exploding into a monster hurricane. The dry air from Saharan Dust, which has been keeping South Florida mostly rain-free for several days, is still around. That along with unfavorable upper-level winds are factors forecast to keep the intensity in check.
Bigger impacts are expected in Palm Beach County and then north on the Florida coast than in Dade and Broward. The center of Isaias is forecast to track over or near the coastline from around the Treasure Coast through most of the rest of the state. There is a storm surge threat as well from about Jupiter to the north as the winds push the ocean water over the shoreline.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting the water to rise 2 to 4 feet above the normal high-tide level, which will be dangerous in some areas.
The current forecast shows Isaias impacting the eastern parts of the Carolinas and then speeding north over or near the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast early in the week. From Virginia Beach to the Delmarva, the Jersey Shore, Long Island, and New England, people at the coast should seek out and heed local emergency information. Isaias will come on fast, and has the potential to be a surprising and dangerous event in some areas.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, a new tropical depression formed near Africa, which is forecast to quickly to die out.
There is also a tropical disturbance east of the northern Caribbean islands. It is forecast to move north into the open ocean for the next several days, at least. It will likely never be a threat to the U.S.