"Isaac" In the Keys - Hurricane WARNING SW Fl. Coast & Keys, Hurricane WATCH Central & East Gulf Coast including Fl. Panhandle, Tropical Storm WATCH north to Flagler Beach; Large Wave E. Atlantic..........."Isaac": (handy storm "quick look" from NOAA - click here)
** The tropical storm WATCH has been extended north to Flagler Beach because of the strong pressure gradient between "Isaac" & a surface high pressure near/over New England NOT BECAUSE THE STORM IS MOVING MORE NORTH(!).
** Impacts from "Isaac" will slowly spread north across the First Coast today but still a pretty nice day with an increase in onshore flow Sunday, an elevated rip current risk at area beaches & an increasing easterly breeze along with a few showers..........
** If planning travel the next few days to the S. Fl., Keys or Gulf Coast, stay alert to the latest forecasts...........
** Stay calm but alert & organized...review hurricane prep's...& any necessary flood mitigation plans.
*** DON'T LET "ISAAC FATIGUE" GET THE BEST OF YOU THIS WEEKEND -- STAY UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST FORECASTSModels are now showing an extreme west shift as the storm organizes & begins to
intensify. The First Coast will still see some effects & -- in the end -- total rainfall could still be heavy to very heavy due to tropical airmass overspreading the area.IF the current forecast path proves accurate, the First Coast will endure mostly fringe effects
including heavy rain & isolated tornadoes (highly dependent on strength, speed & exact location -- changes are likely - stay up to date & plan accordingly) - ONE SHOULD EXPECT THE FORECAST TO CHANGE TO AT LEAST SOME DEGREE!:
-- onshore breezy east winds will increase today-Monday to 15-25 mph & gusty especially near the coast causing rougher seas & surf & a high
rip current risk at area beaches. The strongest of these effects on the First Coast will occur in Fl. closer to the circulation of "Isaac".
-- showers & isolated storms will spread into NE Fl. today & especially tonight-Mon.-Tue. only 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 looks to average 1-3" across SE Ga., locally more near the coast...2-4", locally more across NE Fl. I should emphasize that models are split on a turn to the east upon landfall on the Gulf Coast vs. getting caught up in a mid latitude trough & accelerated north/northeast. Whichever occurs will be critical as a slow turn to the east could result in very heavy rain over or near the First Coast. This latter scenario is not expected at this time but still has to be considered.
-- the greatest First Coast threat
would be possible flooding (especially since the ground is saturated & streams & rivers are already running high) & isolated tornadoes, especially late tonight through Monday-Tue.
-- 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.
-- a track more west decreases these threats....a track more east increases these threats & introduces more wind.
Our Jax NWS has posted a handy & interesting experimental product showing tropical cyclone wind speed probabilities -- click here
. For Fl. buoy reports, click here
."To Do List" for Sunday for "First Coasters":
* clean gutters on your home
* clean, remove debris from storm drains/sewers in your neighborhood
* prune dead branches from trees
* bring in or secure objects outside that might easily be blown around
* secure & cover boats
"Isaac" has made the turn northwest & after a brief decrease in forward speed, is moving swiftly again. In advance of "Isaac" is very warm ocean water with deep oceanic heat content & lessening shear (this is especially true near the Fl. Straits & near Cuba). Land interaction has caused weakening, but "Isaac" looks to be on a true trend toward intensification. Of potentially greatest concern is -- once firmly in the Fl. Straits & Gulf -- conditions look especially ripe for a hurricane & shear is much lower (strong shear now over the Gulf is forecast to weaken by early next week). 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. It's in the Gulf when conditions become ripe for strengthening. The map below shows tropical cyclone heat potential - brighter the colors, the more deep, warm ocean water potentially available to a tropical cyclone. A relatively cool area exists just northwest of Cuba, but the Eastern Gulf has pretty high potential until the far Northern/Northeast Gulf.
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 generally remained consistent on a west/northwest track but has been shifting more west & -- in recent model runs -- well to the west & is one of those now on the left (west) side of the forecast guidance. The European has finally developed some consistency & 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. Curiously....the GFS & European models have more or less flip-flopped with the GFS now more west (& strong) while the European is farther east (but also strong). Forecast models as a whole have again shifted west with virtually all global models showing an eventual U.S. hit ranging from the Tx./La. border to near New Orleans to Florida by the middle of the week. It seems a farther west track & landfall might be in the offing.
Direct impacts will increase today-tonight for S. Fl. & the Keys. Weather will improve in Cuba & Hispaniola later today but flooding & mudslides will continue. Impacts on the First Coast through today will be minimal though onshore flow will increase through the day along with a few bands of afternoon showers & isolated t'storms moving west/northwest off the Atlantic. Anyone traveling to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Keys &/or S. Fl. the Gulf Coast should stay tuned to the latest forecasts.
This struggling system has become a remnant low though could regenerate next week if it can fight through the current hostile environment. Recurvature into the open Atlantic is likely with no effect on the U.S. but there may be some heavy rain & gusty winds in Bermuda early in the upcoming week.
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. 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 (late 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.