|Key West radar in the last hour showing the outer edges of Isaac moving onshore. The Cuban coast is in the bottom of the image.|
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Isaac close to hurricane strength
Tropical storm Isaac is just off the Cuban coast this morning about 135 miles east southeast of Key West. The storm has 65mph winds and is forecast to reach hurricane status as he passes through the western Keys. Hurricane warnings are flying through the Keys as well as along the west coast of Florida. Molasses Reef observed a wind gust to 54mph (87km/h) in the last hour. A hurricane watch has now been posted for the Gulf Coast from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Indian Pass, Florida. The storm is moving at a decent rate of 20mph this morning, but forecasters expect the system to consolidate and slow down its forward speed. This will likely allow Isaac to gain strength and approach the Gulf Coast as a strong hurricane by Tuesday morning. Isaac has been rather elongated and poorly organized from the onset but this has not stopped the storm from producing flooding rain across Haiti and winds strong enough to topple trees. Strong surf has also battered the coastal areas of Haiti and Cuba. The flash floods and mudslides in Haiti have taken a toll, especially on the tent camps that were set up after the 2010 earthquake. Several fatalities were reported in Haiti. Storm preparations should begin today across the Gulf Coast.
I will update the status of Isaac as the day progresses. The main impacts today will be heavy rain and gusty winds to the Florida Keys and Cuba.