SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Tropical Storm Isaias formed Wednesday night in the Caribbean Sea as a closed low-level circulation was finally identified in what was previously Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine. As of 8 AM Thursday, winds were 60 mph as the storm was centered 125 miles west-southwest of Ponce, Puerto Rico and moving northwest at 20 mph.
As Isaias moves over the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the mountainous terrain of Hispaniola will disrupt the circulation of the storm temporarily and cause it to weaken. As it moves northwest from there toward the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas, it will restrengthen, but likely staying a tropical storm.
Questions remain whether Isaias will make landfall in southern Florida or stay offshore as it turns north. It is then expected to reach our latitude Monday or Tuesday, but it is less clear how strong the storm will be and whether it will track well inland or off our coast. There will be a big difference in our possible impacts depending on which scenario plays out.
The reason it took so long for Isaias to receive a name is because until last night, a low-level, closed circulation could not be clearly identified. Therefore, the center location had to be estimated to a larger degree than with a tropical storm, hurricane, or even a tropical depression. Forecast models are just now receiving more accurate data on the storm, which means the guidance they produce Thursday and Friday will be more reliable and could lead to significant forecast adjustments to the track, strength, and timing of the storm.
Storm Team 3 is working to bring you frequent updates as Isaias continues to evolve. While we are not expecting a hurricane in our area as of now, some impacts are possible next week. It is still too early to predict the severity of those impacts. For now, be prepared and stay up to date with us.