SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Hurricane Isaias formed late Thursday night/early Friday morning as it moved away from the mountainous terrain of Hispanola and over warmer waters.
While Isaias had been interacting with the higher, mountainous terrain of Hispaniola yesterday, a new center of circulation formed north of the island chain. The new center skipped over the mountains and because of that, the storm did not weaken. Instead, the storm to strengthen into a hurricane over the warm waters.
As of the 2 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center, max sustained wind is at 75 mph with gusts of 90 mph. Movement is northwest at 16 mph. The storm is centered about 245 miles south-southeast of Great Abaco Island.
INTENSITY: As Isaias stays over the warm waters, strengthening is likely over the next 24 hours. After that, the hurricane could possibly run into wind shear. This could lead to some weakening. That being said, the environment is still conductive enough for Isaias to stay within hurricane status.
FORECAST TRACK: Isaias is expected to continue on a northwesterly direction toward the peninsula of Florida over the next two days. After that it is expected to start to turn north and northeast. Impacts will be determined by how close the center of the storm gets to us. If it makes a landfall or hugs the coast, our impacts will be much greater. It is still looking most likely the center will pass off shore. As of right now, expect enhanced rain chances late Sunday through Monday with tropical storm force wind gusts possible (mainly along the coast).
As an trough moves along the east coast, it is going to slowly weaken the steering high pressure. This will allow of Isaias to turn more northwest/north by early this weekend. By Sunday, the trough will begin to turn Isaias north/northeast and the storm is expected to pick up speed. How far east the trough pushes the hurricane will determine our impacts here.
A hurricane warning has been issued for the coastal waters off of Miami. Tropical storm and hurricane watches have been issued for the central – southeast Florida coast. We will likely see these extend more north over the coming days.
Parts of the central and northwestern Bahamas could see a storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet. The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos could pick up as much as 4 to 8 inches of rain.
The reason it took so long for Isaias to receive a name is because until Wednesday 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 today 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 for the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. It is still too early to predict the severity of those impacts.