Tropical Storm Isaac continues to weaken as it approaches the Caribbean

Clark Diaz
September 17, 2018

The winds of Isaac are not expected to affect the Virgin Islands.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate Isaac later this morning and should provide a better assessment of the intensity of the tropical storm and the extent of its winds, N.H.C. said.

Although the storm is approaching the USA coastline as a Category 2 hurricane after weakening from a Category 4 storm, that doesn't mean the storm will be gentle. "It's just not anywhere near a level of Maria", forecaster Eric Blake said.

Florence is the most risky of three tropical systems in the Atlantic.

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Four named tropical systems were spinning in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. "Other years were 1893, 1926, 1950, 1961, 1967, 1980, 1995, 1998, 2010, and 2017", said on Twitter Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at CSU specialized in Atlantic seasonal hurricane forecasts. "It's a nasty interplay that makes it very hard".

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds now extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). The forecast was complicated because the storm was still small, allowing it to quickly change. It is expected to continue moving to the west toward the Caribbean by the end of the work week.

All watches and warnings that had been issued on neighboring islands were canceled Thursday. Sustained winds slowed slightly to 125 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon, making it a Cat 3 storm. Then, Friday through Saturday Florence is expected to slow its forward progress and turn toward the west southwest, slowly advancing across central SC and weakening with time.

After forecast models showed steering currents collapsing as the storm nears the Carolina coast Tuesday, forecasters shifted the track slightly south.

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The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Rain projections also increased, with some locations along the North Carolina coast now expected to get up to 40 inches. It is expected to accelerate over the next 36 hours.

It's a detail that almost got lost among all the wind, rain and storm surge data sent out by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday. The depression is moving toward the west near 16 miles per hour (26 km/h), and this general motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. Strong winds and heavy rainfall had already left tens of thousands of residents without power.

"This storm is going to linger awhile", said George Gallagher of global analytics firm CoreLogic during an online event on Wednesday to assess the threat. The system has now weakened into a Tropical Depression and convection associated with Isaac diminished considerably.

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