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  • Writer's pictureBryan Norcross


It was a lucky weekend for the Florida east coast as Tropical Storm Isaias brushed by just offshore. The center missed Palm Beach County by about 30 miles thanks to a perfectly timed wobble to the right in the storm’s track. The track paralleled the coast all the way up, only throwing occasional gusty squalls toward the land.

Winds gusted over 40 mph in spots, as it did in Miami-Dade and Broward – a minimal tropical-storm-level impact.

Upper-level winds out of the west were enough to tilt the circulation eastward, which kept the strong winds and heavy rain offshore. Grand Bahama Island, on the bad side of the storm, took a beating from torrential rain.

The storm left behind thick tropical moisture over South Florida, which will cause extra heavy thunderstorms when the develop over the next few days.

Today Isaias is bearing down on the Carolinas. Those upper-level winds are forecast to become less hostile today, so the National Hurricane Center is predicting that Isaias could again become a hurricane before making landfall somewhere near Myrtle Beach, SC.

The storm will not be moving parallel to the Carolina coast, and so it will push ocean water over the shoreline to the right of where the center comes ashore. The forecast is for the water to rise up to 3 to 5 feet above the high tide level when the storm comes in.

An unusually deep dip in the jet stream is going to push Isaias over the Carolinas, through the Mid-Atlantic states, and into the Northeast. Besides moving the storm quickly north, the jet stream will also enhance very heavy rain on the west side of Isaias’s track. Widespread 3 to 6 inches of rain are forecast with some places receiving about 8 inches. This will be enough to cause flash flooding in hilly areas inland from the coast.

A redeeming grace of this pattern is that the storm will be moving quickly, so no mega flood is expected like we’ve seen with slow-moving hurricanes in the past. In the Northeast, there has been an ongoing drought, so the rain will be beneficial. Although not necessarily all at once with gusty winds that may take down some trees knocking out power.

Heed local instructions along the East Coast. The ocean will be quite dangerous well before the storm arrives. It will pass the Carolinas today and the Northeast tomorrow. By Wednesday it will be dying out in Canada.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, a tropical disturbance northeast of Puerto Rico is forecast to move north and stall. It is not likely to pose a threat to the U.S., but we’ll watch it a few days from now to be sure it moves out to sea.

Nothing else is expected to develop in the tropics this week.


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