Isaac is strengthening

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on August 24, 2012

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Tropical Storm Isaac is strengthening. An Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft measured surface winds of 60 mph on the east side of the center, about 170 miles south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, at 8:40 am EDT this morning. Winds at the aircraft's flight level of 5,000 feet were hurricane force, 76 mph. The surface pressure remained fairly high, at 1000 mb. Tropical cyclones have a warm core, and the Hurricane Hunters typically find that a storm's lowest pressure is also where the warmest temperature are. However, this morning's flight found that Isaac was still disorganized, with the storm showing almost no evidence of a warm core. Isaac's warmest temperatures were displaced 75 miles to the west of where the lowest pressure was. There were no signs of an eyewall beginning to build. Infrared and visible satellite loops show that Isaac is somewhat asymmetric, with a large band of intense thunderstorms to the east, separated from the core region. This is interfering with both the storm's low-level inflow and upper-level outflow, but the band appears to be dying out. An analysis of upper level winds from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS shows an upper-level outflow channel well-established to the north, and an intermittent outflow channel to the south.


Figure 1. Evening shot of Tropical Storm Isaac taken on August 23, 2012, by the NOAA Hurricane Hunters.

Isaac's rains
Radar imagery from Puerto Rico shows that Isaac is dumping some very heavy rains to the south and east of the center. Ponce, Puerto Rico had a wind gust of 37 mph this morning as a heavy band of rain moved through, and radar-estimated rainfall amounts are in excess of 7 inches for the region just north of Ponce. Power outages to 2,000 homes have been reported in Puerto Rico this morning. NOAA buoy 42085 offshore from Ponce reported a wind gust of 54 mph near 9 am EDT this morning. Rainfall estimates from microwave satellite instruments suggest that Isaac's heaviest rains are to the south of the center, and that the Dominican Republic and Eastern Haiti will escape the worst of Isaac's rains. Haiti's southwest peninsula and Eastern Cuba should suffer the heaviest rains.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation from the Puerto Rico radar shows the region near Ponce has received up to 7" of rain as of 10 am EDT August 24, 2012.

Latest model runs for Isaac
The latest set of 00Z and 06Z (8 pm and 2 am EDT) model runs have come into better agreement, thanks to the dropsonde mission by the NOAA jet yesterday afternoon and evening. Isaac should move over Haiti's southwest peninsula and then eastern Cuba, then track along the spine of Cuba before popping off into the Florida Straits on Sunday. A trough of low pressure will then pull Isaac to the northwest, and then north, towards the Central Gulf Coast. Landfall locations range from Mississippi (06Z HWRF model run) to the Florida Panhandle south of Tallahassee (06Z GFDL model run.) It is possible that the trough of low pressure pulling Isaac to the north may not be strong enough to pull Isaac all the way to the northeast and out to sea, and the ECMWF model indicates that Isaac could stall out after landfall over the Tennessee Valley for several days.


Figure 3. Predicted 5-day rainfall total ending at 2 am EDT Wednesday August 29, from Tropical Storm Isaac. Graphics were generated from the 6Z (2 am EDT) August 24, 2012 run of the HWRF model. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Intensity forecast for Isaac
Isaac has not intensified as much as predicted, and I think that the storm's very large size is partially responsible for that. It's tough to spin up as much atmosphere as Isaac is attempting to do very quickly. Conditions remain favorable for intensification today, with wind shear low, 5 - 10 knots, ocean temperatures warm, 29°C, and dry air mostly mixed out of the storm's core. The large band of intense thunderstorms to the east, separated from the core region, appears to be dying out now, which will help the storm grow more organized. The storm's structure has improved considerably between 9 am - 10 am EDT, with a fairly tight center forming, exposed to view, on the north edge of Isaac's heaviest thunderstorms. A curved band of heavy thunderstorms is now trying to wrap around this center to the northeast, and this band will bring very heavy rains to Haiti and the Dominican Republic this afternoon. I expect that the Hurricane Hunters will observe a partial eyewall in their vortex reports between 2 - 4 pm EDT this afternoon. The storm's large size and disorganized structure suggests that Isaac will be able to intensify only slowly today, and will have top winds of 70 - 75 mph before encountering Southwest Haiti and Eastern Cuba tonight and Saturday. Isaac will likely be a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm on Saturday and Sunday as it moves over Cuba. Once Isaac pops off the coast of Cuba into the Florida Straits, it will be over very warm waters of 31 - 32°C (88 - 90°F), wind shear will be light to moderate. The upper-level wind pattern favorable may be quite favorable for intensification, with low wind shear due to an upper-level anticyclone over the storm--though the models disagree on whether or not this anticyclone will set up directly over Isaac or not. It will probably take at least 24 hours with the storm's center over water for it to become a hurricane. It is possible that Isaac could be approaching Category 3 strength by the time it makes landfall on Tuesday on the Gulf Coast, as suggested by the latest 06Z run of the HWRF model.

Impact on Tampa, Florida
The Republican National Convention begins on Monday in Tampa, Florida. The latest 11 am EDT wind probability forecast from NHC gives Tampa a 17% chance of receiving tropical storm-force winds and a 1% chance of receiving hurricane-force winds on Monday. Tampa is in the NHC cone of uncertainty, though near the edge of it. At a minimum, Tampa will receive very heavy rains and wind gusts in excess of 40 mph. Isaac is going to be hard-pressed to bring hurricane-force winds to the city, though, since any path that takes it close to Tampa would keep the storm too close to land for significant intensification to occur. I put the odds of a mass evacuation being ordered for Tampa during the convention at 1%. I have detailed information on Tampa's storm surge vulnerability in a post from last week.

Invest 97L off the coast of Africa
A tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on Thursday has been designated Invest 97L by NHC this morning. The storm has a modest amount of spin and heavy thunderstorms, and is under moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 97L a 30% chance of developing by Sunday morning. The 8 am EDT SHIPS model forecast predicts that 97L will track west-northwest over the next few days, and encounter a region of high wind shear associated with an upper-level low on Monday and Tuesday. This low may be capable of tearing the storm apart, as happened to Tropical Storm Joyce. None of the models currently foresee that 97L will affect the Lesser Antilles Islands, but 97L may pass near Bermuda 7 - 8 days from now.



20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew
Today, August 24, is the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane with 175 mph winds--one of only three Category 5 hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. With Isaac churning through the Caribbean this week, I didn't have time to prepare a special post on Andrew, but our Hurricane Andrew archive page has links to satellite and radar images, newspaper headlines, and 49 YouTube videos. Here's an additional link for an Andrew damage video shot by wunderblogger/storm chaser Mike Theiss, when he was 14 years old.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting fire635:


I think youre somewhat off base.... If the new GFS verified, we would be looking at some very serious consequences here in Tampa Bay. Maybe not "worst case scenario" but much more than the "usual" storms we are accustomed to.



Alright far enough, you may disagree with me, and I will not get angry, it's ok to disagree :)
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hmm seem like HH found it at 16.8N 71.4W
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12180
GMZ001-242015-
SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
1126 AM EDT FRI AUG 24 2012

.SYNOPSIS....HIGH PRES RIDGE ACROSS THE NORTHERN GULF WITH
MOSTLY LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT FOR ELY WINDS AT 20 KT ACROSS THE SE
CARIBBEAN AS THE PRES GRADIENT BETWEEN THE RIDGE AND TROPICAL
STORM ISAAC HAS TIGHTENED. TROPICAL STORM ISAAC IS FORECAST TO
MOVE INTO CENTRAL CUBA SUN AND INTO THE SE GULF MON THEN
INTENSIFY INTO A HURRCAINE IN THE NE GULF TUE. ISAAC IS FORECAST
TO MOVE INLAND INTO THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE AS A HURRICANE WED.

NHC Marine Forecast
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Quoting tropicfreak:
Time: 18:42:00Z
Coordinates: 16.8N 71.4167W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.0 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,448 meters (~ 4,751 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 995.1 mb (~ 29.39 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 64° at 1 knots (From the ENE at ~ 1.1 mph)
Air Temp: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Dew Pt: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 3 knots (~ 3.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
\



no

18:41:00Z 16.783N 71.367W 842.9 mb
(~ 24.89 inHg) 1,446 meters
(~ 4,744 feet) 994.8 mb
(~ 29.38 inHg
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It ain't official until the NHC puts it on the ATCF, but according to Advisory14A's 16.8*N 71.4*W
HOG-Holguin :: ICR-Nicaro :: IGA-GreatInagua :: NBW-Guantanamo

CYA-LesCayes :: JAK-Jacmel :: CBJ-CaboRojo :: The longest line is a straightline projection through TS.Isaac's 2 most recent positions to the top of the map

And sure as shootin', ifn't ya post, they will post afterward
AL 09, 2012082418, 168N 714W
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Extrap. Sfc. Press: 995.1 mb (~ 29.39 inHg)

Still strengthening despite convection waning.
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1255. 7544
is he getting stronger pressure is droping can they up the winds at 5pm looks like its tightening up a bit from here tia
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Quoting snotly:
Don't forget the curvature of the earth and the relativistic effect due to gravity




Was going to mention that, but figured why bother.

His formula is true for a flat earth, but within radar range I don't think the curvature makes more than a few hundred feet difference anyway...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting TheWeatherMan504:


You can't just look at one frame, Reed. You have to look at the evolution of the pattern. The Euro has the continental ridge bridging with the Bermuda high by 144 hours and that's why the Euro has the solution that it has.



Good luck weatherman. We've all tried. Maybe the visual will help. :)
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Time: 18:42:00Z
Coordinates: 16.8N 71.4167W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.0 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,448 meters (~ 4,751 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 995.1 mb (~ 29.39 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 64° at 1 knots (From the ENE at ~ 1.1 mph)
Air Temp: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Dew Pt: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 3 knots (~ 3.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Not going be good for S FL
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4724
Quoting presslord:
If I were a bettin' man....and, actually, I am....I'd bet the NHC emerges from all this with their credibility well intact...


Me too. I'd hate to live in the US, though, where betting exchanges are banned. Betfair is a godsend. Got my fingers burned on McIlroy in the PGA, though. Thought he was way too short and laid him. The rest, as they say, is history.
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1249. JLPR2
Quoting Neapolitan:
97L pressure is down one millibar, but still has quite a ways to go, obviously:

AL, 97, 2012082418, , BEST, 0, 127N, 247W, 25, 1006, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,



Really nice spin, now it needs to continue building that convection.
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See, NHC has 1 minute frame updates on most satellite and radar products.

The public rarely has any better than 5 to 30 minute updates, and just a few frames per hour, so NHC has an advantage.

So technically, it actually takes more skill for the "armchair QB" to get it right than it would for NHC, since we have fewer tools with less updates to work with...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1247. Levi32
Quoting southfla:


Do you have any specific schools in mind ?


I want FSU, but we'll have to see how that goes.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Northern Eyewall Never Again

And for years I honestly thought it meant "National Reserve Training: I Will Never Again". Thanks for letting us know!
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Quoting Chiggy:
For what it is worth, 160 year history is against Fl landfall, only 3 storms have hit FL from the current position of Issac in August - a staggering statistics!


That's poor statistics when you have a 150+ yr span and say maybe twenty (?  cant and will not count those lines  lol) storms.  150 yr span is poor sample of say 2billion years plus of weather.
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Trough 1 already digging into South FL.
Trough 2 already coming into the picture over Texas.

It comes down to if these 2 troughs can get the work done and weaken the Subtropical Ridge, especially on the Northwestern Flank that is over South and North Carolina, that would allow Isaac to escape to the Northeast.

Atlantic Water Vapor Loop
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ATCF says Isaac is just 10 knots from hurricane status:

AL, 09, 2012082418, , BEST, 0, 168N, 714W, 55, 995, TS, 50, NEQ, 60, 0, 0, 0, 1008, 250, 60, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, ISAAC, D,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
XTRP isn't a model. It's just a straight line projection of the direction the storm is headed. No reasoning at all, just like laying a ruler on the map.


Quoting Gino99:
Can someone please explain me the XTRP model? :P I don't even consider it as a model lol.
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"Isaac is literally hitting a brick wall when it reaches 85W."

Literally?

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1240. Levi32
Quoting snotly:
Don't forget the curvature of the earth and the relativistic effect due to gravity




Curvature affects it a bit but a flat earth is an ok approximation at that distance.
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Quoting ARiot:


I do. But their 80-120 hours are not doing good lately and that's what everyone wants when a storm is 5 days out :-)


I believe the EURO will be right
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1148
Does anyone know what time the Euro 12Z will be released Eastern time?
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Quoting snotly:
I wonder if the center is following a cork-screw motion, since the storm was so asymmetric before W, SW, WSW, NW so on...
agree...wondered the same.
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1236. yoboi
Quoting reedzone:


No, it doesn't. As I've stressed this, a storm CANNOT bust through the corner of a developing ridge. It will recurve before or at 85W. Another thing that Levi pointed out is that Isaac will be moving around the weaker ridge, which results in a steering towards Florida. Steering Layers (current steering) is well against the EUROS forecast steering pattern.





Isaac is literally hitting a brick wall when it reaches 85W.



never say never with weather.....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2374
I've updated my forecast after the latest model runs and surface observations, and made my graphics a little better. I don't really buy the eastward shift much yet, and I am putting a little bit more stock in the Euro with an (possibly rapidly) intensifying hurricane heading west of Florida.

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1234. drs2008
Quoting snotly:
Don't forget the curvature of the earth and the relativistic effect due to gravity


And,of course,the effects of time dilation.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
MMIC seems to say that, as i alluded to earlier, the vort max we saw exposed before is not the LLC and the COC is still on its way to the peninsula part of haiti:






i.e. either re-organization or a SW jog, as the previous steering layer suggested.


The storm is still partially embedded in the monsoon trough, so it can still jiggle around in there a bit, which is a factor people need to consider as well. Which is apparent on all of the steering layer maps as well.

But the time stamp on that last frame would only be 945 central or 1045 eastern, so I'm not sure it matters, since it's reasonable that a N jog could have off-set that before the NHC made their official 2pm eastern data points.

I guess we'll know in a few more hours when more of the public graphics are updated.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting Levi32:


They have no meteorology program in Alaska, only some relevant courses in their atmospheric science program. I have to wait until grad school for classes like the one you mention.


Bummer, I thought you had mentioned that before. Knocking out the Physics and Math is most important anyways. Plenty of time in grad school to get into the good stuff!

Looks like Recon about to get there first center fix on an intensifying Isaac.
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Ok now the Euro and the GFS are way off again..uncertainty has just opened once again
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1230. Levi32
12z JMA hugs the west coast of the peninsula and then up into Apalachicola.

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Extrap. Sfc. Press: 994.8 mb (~ 29.38 inHg)

And it seems not to have moved at all from last advisory position...Which isn't saying much since we all sort of thought the last official position was a little off.
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1228. WxLogic
Center found... I'm quite sure of it 995MB
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1227. snotly
Don't forget the curvature of the earth and the relativistic effect due to gravity


Quoting Levi32:


I edited it to include 130-150 miles and for some reason it dropped that edit after I opened it a 2nd time.

Ok...math...

140 miles * 5280 feet/mile = 739200 feet

Setting up the triangle from the radar tower in San Juan to a point on the ocean 140 miles away and the 3rd point directly above that at the radar beam. Beam angle is 0.5 degrees, here theta. "y" is the height of the far side of the triangle from the ocean to the beam. "x" is the horizontal distance from the radar tower to the point beneath the beam:

We know that: tan(theta) = y/x

We know everything except y:

y = x*arctan(theta)

y = (739200 feet) * arctan(0.5 degrees) = 6450 feet

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The Cone

Definition:

The cone represents the probable track of the center of a tropical cyclone, and is formed by enclosing the area swept out by a set of circles (not shown) along the forecast track (at 12, 24, 36 hours, etc). The size of each circle is set so that two-thirds of historical official forecast errors over a 5-year sample fall within the circle. The circle radii defining the cones in 2011 for the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins are given in the table below.

One can also examine historical tracks to determine how often the entire 5-day path of a cyclone remains completely within the area of the cone. This is a different perspective that ignores most timing errors. For example, a storm moving very slowly but in the expected direction would still be within the area of the cone, even though the track forecast error could be very large. Based on forecasts over the previous 5 years, the entire track of the tropical cyclone can be expected to remain within the cone roughly 60-70% of the time.

Link
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Quoting Levi32:


They have no meteorology program in Alaska, only some relevant courses in their atmospheric science program. I have to wait until grad school for classes like the one you mention.


Do you have any specific schools in mind ?
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Bang.
994.8 mb
(~ 29.38 inHg)

Winds died off too as they passed through the CoC and started to pick up as they exited, indicative of a possible developing eye.
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Time: 18:39:30Z
Coordinates: 16.7667N 71.2833W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.0 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,448 meters (~ 4,751 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 995.2 mb (~ 29.39 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 213° at 15 knots (From the SSW at ~ 17.2 mph)
Air Temp: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Dew Pt: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 16 knots (~ 18.4 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 26 knots (~ 29.9 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Quoting 12george1:

I think you meant to say that YIsaac is heading toward the mountains


No, no...It is 2012 and the Mayan pole reversal is currently under way. So Isaac is actually sitting still while we all flip upside down

:) lol
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1221. ARiot
Quoting kshipre1:
who in here thinks the euro will be right?


I do. But their 80-120 hours are not doing good lately and that's what everyone wants when a storm is 5 days out :-)

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2PM S FL it is

Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4724
1219. Levi32
Quoting IceCoast:


They have any Radar specific courses at your school Levi? Definitely one of my favorite Meteorology classes so far with the exception of a few of the pesky radar equations.



They have no meteorology program in Alaska, only some relevant courses in their atmospheric science program. I have to wait until grad school for classes like the one you mention.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


No, but there is another GIV flight today.


Thanks NRT.
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97L pressure is down one millibar, but still has quite a ways to go, obviously:

AL, 97, 2012082418, , BEST, 0, 127N, 247W, 25, 1006, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13580
1216. WxLogic
Quoting angiest:


Thanks.

Shouldn't they also be sampling the NE Gulf?


Not yet... since models are currently in good agreement the weakness lies in the E to extreme E GOM, but they'll event eventually sample the GOM if thing could get crazy. :)

They could have other reason of course.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Pity the poster wasted it by posting it with a fake id instead of making a name for himself with a unique one of his own... we could use that lighter touch every now and then...



It was very well "wordsmithed"
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Well, we're now seeing some intermittent sun, but winds have picked up considerably due to the pressure gradient induced by the approach of Isaac.

What are the odds of the heavy rainfall / thunderstorm activity switching from the south side of the circulation to the north side as Isaac crosses Cuba? I thought I saw something similar earlier this week as it crossed into the CAR...

On the subject of US international aid, I applaud the efforts, both by government and private entities, to assist other nations in their time of crisis, especially poor nations with limited resources, like Haiti. Nevertheless, I am also reminded that giving money is rarely the solution to the problems that make the effects of such crises linger. And recent hurricane strikes in the US show that Americans have their own vulnerablities to concern themselves with. So maybe a little less "rock-throwing" on all our parts might be wise...


East winds ??
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Quoting Chiggy:
For what it is worth, 160 year history is against Fl landfall, only 3 storms have hit FL from the current position of Issac in August - a staggering statistics!

160 year old records are no longer reliable.

Hurricanes, whose development tends to be inhibited by jet streams, may become more powerful and more frequent as the jet streams move away from the sub-tropical zones where hurricanes are born. Link
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1212. Levi32
12z CMC ensembles taking Isaac up the western Florida Peninsula:

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1211. angiest
Quoting WxLogic:


Here's the pattern:



Thanks.

Shouldn't they also be sampling the NE Gulf?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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