SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Hurricane Isaias is now nearing the southeastern Bahamas. Once a disorganized storm, it is now better defined and stronger than previously expected.
Throughout Thursday, Isaias has been interacting with the high terrain of the island of Hispaniola. That is why this storm has not become stronger today. Strengthening will likely begin to occur as Isiasas moves away from the island, which is now happening. On satellite imagery, a new center of circulation appears to be forming over water.
As of the 11:40 PM Thursday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, wind is sustained at 80 mph with gusts of 100 mph. Movement is northwest at 18 mph, which is fairly fast for a tropical system. The storm is centered about 80 miles east/southeast of Great Inagua Island.
The current projected path of Isaias indicates that the storm will continue on a northwesterly direction toward the peninsula of Florida over the next two days. Right now, there are indications that this storm will stay off the coast of Florida and will become stronger. By Friday night, Isaias is forecast to become a category one hurricane.
Tropical storm and hurricane watches have been issued for the 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 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 for the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. It is still too early to predict the severity of those impacts.