T.S. Isaias could hit Florida tonight with wind speeds near hurricane strength
Tropical Storm Isaias is forecast to approach the coast of Florida this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center, with wind speeds of 70 miles per hour and some models predicting it could strengthen into a hurricane.
Tropical Storm Isaias, which became the ninth named storm of a busy 2020 hurricane season late Wednesday night, saw its forecast track make a small move to the east early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center, with the center of that track keeping the core of the storm slightly off the shores of South Florida.
Although the center of the forecast cone keeps the core of Isaias slightly offshore of South Florida, nearly the entire state remains in the forecast path.
It is expected to continue aiming northwest with a dead-center pass over Hispaniola (the island that comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti), contending with mountains as high as 10,000 feet.
Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs) is expected to continue on a northwest track until it reaches Florida, where a turn north is anticipated.
Tropical storm-force gusts could arrive in Florida as early as tonight, but Saturday is much more likely, the National Weather Service’s Miami office said. The wind field is massive, with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 415 miles north from the system’s center.
It also said that “ahead of any impacts from the (impending) tropical system, most of the rainfall this week will be over the interior and Gulf coast of southern Florida,” with rain chances increasing for Florida’s east coast on Friday.
There have been four other tropical storms so far this month: Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna. Other named storms this year have included Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly.
Tropical Storm Arthur formed in mid-May, making this the sixth straight year that a named storm formed before the official start of hurricane season on June 1.
So far, Hanna has been the only hurricane of the season, striking Texas late last week as a strong Category 1 storm.
Virtually all estimates for this hurricane season predict an above-average number of storms, due to unusually warm ocean temperatures and global climate factors that are likely to reduce the high-altitude winds that can prevent the formation of hurricanes.
On July 8, Colorado State University issued a slightly more pessimistic outlook for hurricane season than its earlier forecast, upping the number of named storms from 19 to 20.