I apologize for not posting yesterday as time got away from me. . .
Isaac has crossed the southwest peninsula of Haiti and appears to be in relatively good health, which is actually bad news for South Florida and the Eastern Gulf. With the core of the storm intact and what appears to be a right jog that may avoid eastern Cuba, this could allow Isaac to strengthen rapidly over the Florida Straits today into tonight.
The infrared satellite animation above shows TS Isaac crossing the peninsula overnight and the center of the storm now lies in the Gulf of Gonave. The storm is heading north-northwest which I think is temporary (and so do the specialists at NHC) with a more westward bend in the track expected later today. In the short term, the current motion would allow Isaac to avoid most of eastern Cuba and therefore the higher mountains that would disrupt the core of the storm.
I included the early morning track guidance and the official NHC track forecast for Isaac to show you the consistency of the forecasts. I see no reason to deviate from these forecasts, but my personal feeling is that residence from Baton Rouge, LA to Panama City, FL should be on guard. I’m not in favor of a storm hugging the west coast of Florida as that track is extremely rare (although it would lead to a weaker storm). As for intensity, I think it is quite possible that we may be talking about a Category 3 with a very slight chance of a Category 4 hurricane moving through the Eastern Gulf. The water is warm, the atmosphere is ready, and the structure of the storm looks good this morning.
A hurricane warning has been issued for the Florida Keys with Tropical Storm Warnings in effect for Miami-Dade to Broward County and then up to Ft. Myers in South Florida. Please take this storm seriously! I am not ready to pick a landfall location in the Northeastern Gulf, but it is starting to look more and more likely that it could be anywhere from Mobile, AL to as far east as Panama City, FL. As I stated in the last paragraph, anyone from Baton Rouge to Panama City should be preparing now. If you live on the Florida peninsula, expect heavy rainfall and gusty winds, but the worst of it should stay south and west.
I will try to provide an update this afternoon or evening. Thanks for reading!