"Isaac" In the Gulf of Mexico - Hurricane WARNING for the Gulf Coast including New Orleans to the W. Fl. Panhandle; 2 Waves E. Atlantic..........."Isaac": (handy storm "quick look" from NOAA - click here)
** Impacts from "Isaac" will increase across the First Coast with onshore east to southeast flow, an elevated rip current risk at area beaches & an increasing easterly wind along with bands of heavy showers & isolated t'storms..........
** If planning travel the next few days to the Gulf Coast, stay alert to the latest forecasts...........Models are finally coming into some agreement on near or just east of New Orleans for landfall.
The First Coast will still see some fringe effects & -- in the end -- total rainfall will be heavy to very heavy the next few days due to the tropical airmass overspreading the area.IF the current forecast path proves accurate, the First Coast will endure mainly fringe effects
including heavy rain & isolated tornadoes:
-- onshore breezy east/southeast winds into early tonight 15-25 mph & gusty especially near the coast causing rougher seas & surf & a high
rip current risk at area beaches.
-- Periods of rain & storms through this evening will gradually affect SE Ga. Even with "Isaac" well to the west, a slug of tropical moisture will push northward & bring potentially heavy rain at times. Rainfall through Tue. evening looks to average 1-3" across SE Ga., locally more near the coast...2-4", locally more across NE Fl., especially near the coast & closer to I-75. I should emphasize that a tropical airmass will remain in place Wed.-Fri. which will lead to additional heavy rain & storms even without "Isaac" in the immediate area.
-- the greatest First Coast threat
will be possible flooding (especially since the ground is saturated & streams & rivers are already running high) & isolated tornadoes, especially through this evening. A few severe storms will still be possible Tue. & Wed.
-- winds won't be terribly strong averaging 15-30 mph with gusts of 35-40 mph BUT trees will be susceptible to being uprooted due to the wet ground. The highest gusts will be at the coast & near I-75.
Our Jax NWS has posted a handy & interesting experimental product showing tropical cyclone wind speed probabilities -- click here
. For Fl. buoy reports, click here
"Isaac" has bent a little more northwest & after a brief decrease in forward speed & should gradually slow as it follows the weakness in the atmosphere near the Gulf Coast. In advance of "Isaac" is very warm ocean water with deep oceanic heat content. Despite a better satellite presentation, intensity has not yet started to ramp up. Of potentially greatest concern is -- once firmly in the Gulf -- conditions look especially ripe for a hurricane & shear is lower. It's notable that most forecast models have been accurate so far in depicting only slow strengthening -- or a steady state -- up to this point. The map below shows tropical cyclone heat potential - brighter the colors, the more deep, warm ocean water potentially available to a tropical cyclone. It's disconcerting that some forecast models show a strong hurricane upon landfall. The large area of deep oceanic heat content extending to southeast of New Orleans could aid in strengthening "Isaac" upon approach to the coast.
As for track....a generally northwest movement should continue before there's enough weakening in the upper level ridge to allow a more northward move. The GFS has seemed to finally settle on at or near New Orleans. The European has been ping-ponging ever since it finally caught onto the storm late last week but seems to be analyzing the storm better so should be more reliable from here on out. This season the European has performed better once the storm is better developed. The European takes the storm inland just east of New Orleans but not as strong as past model runs. It seems a landfall Tue. afternoon or night from New Orleans to Pascagoula is the most likely scenario which will be a test for New Orleans & its new levees depending on the orientation of the flow around the hurricane upon its approach to the Gulf Coast.
Direct impacts will increase along the Gulf Coast while heavy rain & strong winds over S. Fl. & the Keys will diminish through the today. Weather will improve in Cuba & Hispaniola but flooding & mudslides will continue. Impacts on the First Coast through Mon. evening -- though generally not severe but still impressive at times -- will include occasional heavy showers & a few t'storms with gusty winds. Anyone traveling to the Keys &/or S. Fl. the Gulf Coast should stay tuned to the latest forecasts.
This struggling system has become a remnant low with some occasional t'storms though could regenerate this week if it can fight through the current hostile environment. Recurvature into the open Atlantic so no effect on the U.S.
The wave in the Eastern Atlantic still has some potential for development as it moves west/northwest though it does appear to be suffering from some shear & good deal of dry mid & upper level air & is already pretty far north. Yet another wave is coming off the coast of Africa at a little lower latitude & moving west. At least some upper level ridging will rebuild across the Northern Atlantic in about 10 days, & the extent of this ridging (Bermuda high) will have a lot to do with how far west across the Atlantic this wave might go. Some long range global forecast models do show the system now moving off Africa (second wave) approaching the Western Atlantic & maybe as far as east of the Bahamas or so in roughly 10 days (Labor Day week).
Remember that taping windows is of NO VALUE & that it's too late to buy flood insurance now (30 day waiting period). From the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) [click here]:
FLASH® Encourages Families to Go Tapeless This Hurricane Season
New survey results revealed by FLASH at National Hurricane Conference show nearly seven out of 10 homeowners think taping windows helps in hurricanes
ORLANDO, FL (March 27, 2012) -- A survey commissioned by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) and conducted online by Harris Interactive during the period of January 25-27, 2012 found that nearly seven out of 10 homeowners still think that windows and glass doors should be taped in preparation for a hurricane. Masking tape, duct tape, window film and specially marketed “hurricane tape” are insufficient and potentially dangerous substitutions for tested and approved hurricane shutters, impact-resistant windows or properly installed temporary, emergency plywood shutters. This is why FLASH is determined to bust the dangerous window taping myth and is encouraging Americans to Go Tapeless this hurricane season as a part of its hurricane preparedness initiative, the Great Hurricane Blowout (Blowout).
Ideal family and home protection follows when all windows and openings (entry doors, garage doors, gable end vents, etc.) are covered with tested and approved impact-resistant coverings or constructed of impact-resistant materials. Even installing plywood shutters can be a reliable temporary option in an emergency. But make no mistake – taping is not adequate to provide hurricane protection.
“Today’s marketplace is full of tested and approved methods and products to protect families and homes from hurricanes,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Yet just last year, Hurricane Irene provided stark evidence that too many homeowners are clinging to a belief that masking tape on glass is a good preparedness activity. The only thing worse than no hurricane protection is the wrong hurricane protection, and that is why we are launching Go Tapeless all across America today.”
This new element of the Blowout, a first-of-its-kind hurricane preparedness campaign launched by FLASH in 2010 will educate families about the risks of taping up in advance of a storm and provide the necessary resources to help them prepare. By joining the Blowout, families can learn about the best methods to protect their homes and families. They can also pledge to join the ranks of “Tapeless” Americans this hurricane season.
Families can visit ** here ** to learn – before the first storm arrives – how preparedness will allow them to “breathe easy” knowing that they are ready for hurricane season.