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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I'm at work. Can someone link me the latest European model animated. Thanks - I check back from time to time
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I was wanting to share something I thought is interesting.

All week it has been raining here in South West Georgia with showers and storms but all of the sudden skies have clear and the system causing the rain is moving out just in time for Isaac. It makes you wonder if ole isaac has something to do with that.

*hey move out of the way...I am coming through*
Quoting StormTracker2K:
My point is this Issac is potentially 60 to 72hrs from making landfall in extreme SE FL and the local mets are saying nothing to worry about as the track is a couple hundred miles west of Tampa. So that happens everyone listens to the NHC and we have another Charley situation and people aren't prepared because everyone follows the center line of the NHC track instead of focusing on the come of error. Local mets in Orlando are saying we are in the clear in C FL and may not get much if any rain. Crazy!


Oh well they should be alright (CAT 1 tops according to forecast) unless of course Isaac blows up rather quickly
Quoting clwstmchasr:


All I ask WKC is that when Isaac is north of Cuba that you don't tell us you are seeing it moving south:)

btw, it does look like the Caymans dodged one this time.


The caymans haven't dodged anything. The still are on the left side of the storm and have a storm moving in a direction north of them. Any turn to the south and west changes everything. I believe they have the right to breath a bit easier but NEVER let your guard down. Weather is unpredictable. They aren't out of the woods until the storm passes over Cuba and is in the GOM.
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It's now 994 mb.

Time: 19:58:00Z
Coordinates: 17.0333N 71.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.1 mb (~ 24.90 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,444 meters (~ 4,738 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 994.2 mb (~ 29.36 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 11 at 17 knots (From the N/NNE at ~ 19.5 mph)
Air Temp: 19.0C (~ 66.2F)
Dew Pt: 18.4C (~ 65.1F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 18 knots (~ 20.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 23 knots (~ 26.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 4 mm/hr (~ 0.16 in/hr)
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Quoting caribnewsman:


Actually, the southern edge of the NHC cone, which is much like the EURO, takes the center of a very large cyclone very close to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Although they wouldn't get the dirty side of Isaac, if the storm takes the southern edge of the 3-day cone track - which is certainly in the realm of possibility according to the NHC - the "Caymans" will get pounded. So ease up dude.


The Caymans...is that like "The Carolinas"?
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The lowest implied pressure reading on this pass was 994.2 - but the NHC prefers to rely on dropsondes, even if it was dropped a little far south of that reading. I suspect the Vortex and the advisory will both use 995 instead.

Much more interestingly, the temperate in the core of the storm has risen all the way up to 19C - that increasing differential is the best indication we've had of eye formation.
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
Given that the TVCN (model consensus) has shifted quite a bit further north and east at least in the first 48 to near 72 hour time frame, I believe the NHC will have to adjust their track accordingly bringing the storm into the Keys during that time frame. This would warrant the issuance of Tropical Storm watches and warnings.

Yep. The NHC loves to follow the TVCN, but I've also seen them manually make a consensus, removing some of the outliers.
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994.2 Just a little bit stronger.
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5pm should be 65-70mph and 995mb pressure
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1553. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27103
Can anyone tell me what the latest Euro run is please and thank you. :)
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


You need to read between the lines of what HPC said. It is like two departments in a company, hurricanes belong to NHC so HPC cannot disagree with what they say, it is not their job. So since those models do not agree with the current NHC track, they need to be thrown out by default. See what NHC says at 5 PM.


Oh I see. I am just aggitated watching the news and the media is telling the public C and S FL will little to worry about as the track is shifting west. The NHC shifted there track west twice today while the model consensus has shifted right twice. Erin in 1995 was also a prime example as folks in Melbourne only had 12hrs to prepare for a hurricane when the NHC said it was going to Miami.
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Given that the TVCN (model consensus) has shifted quite a bit further north and east at least in the first 48 to near 72 hour time frame, I believe the NHC will have to adjust their track accordingly bringing the storm into the Keys during that time frame. This would warrant the issuance of Tropical Storm watches and warnings.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
My point is this Issac is potentially 60 to 72hrs from making landfall in extreme SE FL and the local mets are saying nothing to worry about as the track is a couple hundred miles west of Tampa. So that happens everyone listens to the NHC and we have another Charley situation and people aren't prepared because everyone follows the center line of the NHC track instead of focusing on the come of error. Local mets in Orlando are saying we are in the clear in C FL and may not get much if any rain. Crazy!


ST2K calm down. Did you read the rest of the discussion? It's about the affects of Isaac. Nobody's ignoring the danger Florida's facing. Here's a line from it and a link.

(SIMILAR TO DEBBY
IN LATE JUNE BUT FARTHER TO THE WEST)
Link
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Quoting bwi:
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,524m (5,000ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 18°C (64°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,525m (5,003ft)

Hmm... core warming up a bit, a good sign of organization.
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995 mb? Impressive... we'll see what this next path does.
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wunderkidcayman what do you think about the HWRF track here?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


no I will not
XTRP is not a model


I know you won't. It was a joke.
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Navy site says Isaac is at 55knts
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1543. A4Guy
Quoting presslord:
yea...those NHC guys are a bunch of losers....they should trade in their education, reputations, years of experience, virtually unlimited budgets, cutting edge technology...and just lay around their Mother's house in their dirty underwear, scratching their crotches and and posting to this blog...then they'd get some respect...


lol....you sound just like me, except I usually say "pajamas" instead of "dirty underwear."
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Dropsonde "in the eye" finds 995mb - so that'll be the reading at the next advisory.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Huh, interesting. Consensus now saying it will only briefly make landfall in Cuba now.. greatly reducing the time it will have to spend over Cuba, NHC is probably going to shift slightly north.

Which means a skim of SW florida as it head NW. and this also means much greater strengthening..
Expect at Category 1 landfall on SW and Category 2/3 On Eastern Gulf Coast, if this consensus verifies.
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Quoting Grothar:


Nobody listens to old people anymore. :)



I do! They tell the BEST stories!

Seriously though... interesting how some of the models are skirting Cuba's northern coast now. That would tend to help Isaac maintain any strength, since his circulation would inhibit him a bit from making full landfall in Cuba, and he would also have his whole right side over toasty waters.
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Quoting Matt74:
True statement. The NHC has been money so far. People need to remember, they are the professionals.


Mostly yes, but they had serious egg on their face with Debby and it was all self inflicted. Giving up on the GFS so soon was moronic. It's almost like the new director Rick Knabb has a fixation on the Euro. Oh well...they are usually right so for now I'll just keep a guarded eye on things. I'm sure we'll get TS conditions either way in Fort Myers and we've already picked up everything outside and shuttered some windows so we're good.
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Quoting Grothar:


I guess I'll stop mentioning the Windward Passage and the far Eastern Coast of Cuba, too. :)





What an outlier you are man. Spreading truth like you own it.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


May be up to 70 before it briefly makes landfall in Haiti.



hmmm more overe water the stronger it gets
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Reason NHC is on the far west side is because of the short term WNW track which is what you're seeing on the Xtrap direction. The model consensus is already taking it NW which is not the current direction. Therefore the NHC must stay on the west side of the models. (In other words, the direction the models are moving it are already friggin wrong)

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Quoting Tazmanian:




winds up too 65mph i see


May be up to 70 before it briefly makes landfall in Haiti.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
yea...those NHC guys are a bunch of losers....they should trade in their education, reputations, years of experience, virtually unlimited budgets, cutting edge technology...and just lay around their Mother's house in their dirty underwear, scratching their crotches and and posting to this blog...then they'd get some respect...
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1533. Grothar
Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Yes Gro! You know that was thrown out because it was wrong :-b


I guess I'll stop mentioning the Windward Passage and the far Eastern Coast of Cuba, too. :)



Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27103
Quoting Grothar:
So should I stop posting this or what?



Keep on posting :)
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Quoting CloudGatherer:
...and there we go. The hunter has curved all the way around to a northwestern heading, and is commencing a second pass through the center of the circulation. Much weaker winds in this southeastern quadrant - none on the surface that would justify even a tropical storm. Pressure down to 999MB, and temps steady at 17C. The next message should tell us just how fast Isaac is strengthening now.


I think the key word is "strengthening."

Just as it took a lot of energy, and time, to get Isaac spinning, Isaac is now spinning, and Isaac is big.

Meaning, the mountains of Hispanola and Cuba won't disrupt it as much, and when he gets to the GOM,
expect unexpected intensification.

Just my 2.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


All I ask WKC is that when Isaac is north of Cuba that you don't tell us you are seeing it moving south:)

btw, it does look like the Caymans dodged one this time.


I have no idea what you think I would say that

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1529. A4Guy
I think it should be mandatory to have your location included as part of your screen name. It would explain a LOT - especially with the home-drawn forecasts. I am sure 90% of them take the storm to the poster's doorstep. Would also expose those screaming "it's going West...not Northwest" - it will be no surprise that the direction being advocated similarly takes the storm to their house (or on a path in their general direction).
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Pressure Still about 995.
Not quite at centerfix yet.

Time: 19:52:00Z
Coordinates: 16.7833N 71.6W
Acft. Static Air Press: 842.9 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,452 meters (~ 4,764 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 995.5 mb (~ 29.40 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 239° at 13 knots (From the WSW at ~ 14.9 mph)
Air Temp: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Dew Pt: 18.0°C* (~ 64.4°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 15 knots (~ 17.2 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 24 knots (~ 27.6 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 6 mm/hr (~ 0.24 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Quoting FOREX:


The two Hurricane experts on TWC just said the center is moving WNW. go figure.
DAHHH.....Did they mention west as a possibility?? hahahahaha
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1526. bappit
Quoting gulfbreeze:
The H/center has it moving N/W looks more like a WNW to me. Could he be bumping the Mtr. Range?

Finally that expression makes sense to me.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


This is getting ridiculous already. THe NHC and HPC are going to get burned again. They never learn throw the GFS out when it's been the best performing model!


Yeah, I'm not quite sure why they start out really favoring the GFS and now it's almost like the sexier ECMWF model came along and they just dumped poor ol' GFS and won't even look at her anymore...
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TS watches COULD be issued for the Keys in this upcoming advisory.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Gro the experts said to throw it out. Idiots!


You need to read between the lines of what HPC said. It is like two departments in a company, hurricanes belong to NHC so HPC cannot disagree with what they say, it is not their job. So since those models do not agree with the current NHC track, they need to be thrown out by default. See what NHC says at 5 PM.
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Nonsense, Grothar... I've been listening to you for years here on the blog.... :-)

Always interested in your analysis :)
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah I think the GFDL is pretty much the consensus between the far right and far left models right now.

Wait, the models are based on conservative and liberal ideologies? Oh no! We're in trouble!
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


wunderkidcayman better pay attention to the XTRP model...


no I will not
XTRP is not a model
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Huh, interesting. Consensus now saying it will only briefly make landfall in Cuba now.. greatly reducing the time it will have to spend over Cuba, NHC is probably going to shift slightly north.




winds up too 65mph i see
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Quoting RTSplayer:


Wait, what happened that I missed?

I was eating...


That's part of an HPC discussion.
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1517. bwi
Popping back in for a bit. Haven't scrolled down to see if this has been posted -- if so, sorry for the redundancy.

Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 24th day of the month at 19:05Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 300)
Storm Number & Year: 09L in 2012
Storm Name: Isaac (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 12
Observation Number: 02
A. Time of Center Fix: 24th day of the month at 18:43:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 16°48'N 71°31'W (16.8N 71.5167W) (View map)
B. Center Fix Location: 132 miles (212 km) to the SSE (156°) from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,381m (4,531ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 55kts (~ 63.3mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 49 nautical miles (56 statute miles) to the ENE/E (79°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 155° at 70kts (From the SSE at ~ 80.6mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 68 nautical miles (78 statute miles) to the ENE (75°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 995mb (29.38 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 14°C (57°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,524m (5,000ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 18°C (64°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,525m (5,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 16°C (61°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 4 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 70kts (~ 80.6mph) in the east quadrant at 18:21:30Z
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My point is this Issac is potentially 60 to 72hrs from making landfall in extreme SE FL and the local mets are saying nothing to worry about as the track is a couple hundred miles west of Tampa. So that happens everyone listens to the NHC and we have another Charley situation and people aren't prepared because everyone follows the center line of the NHC track instead of focusing on the come of error. Local mets in Orlando are saying we are in the clear in C FL and may not get much if any rain. Crazy!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Huh, interesting. Consensus now saying it will only briefly make landfall in Cuba now.. greatly reducing the time it will have to spend over Cuba, NHC is probably going to shift slightly north.

Northwest with a bend back more towards the west-northwest as it approaches Florida. Good job ECMWF.
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1514. Matt74
Quoting presslord:
people on this blog bashing the NHC are an amusement to me....
True statement. The NHC has been money so far. People need to remember, they are the professionals.
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Quoting stormpetrol:


To be honest I never read where he said that about Isaac! BTW , laugh at him, criticize him, make fun of him, but he has been fairly accurate with the movement of Isaac so far, nuff said!


it was me quoting you on the steering I think it was I said steering at Isaac's level shows more W-WNW track and that was it I didn't even say cayman and this guy just goes crazy I truly think there is something wrong with him he is hearing and seeing storm coming to cayman I have no idea where he is pulling this out from his head ... or the rear... J/K but really Don't know where his is puuling this from


Quoting Hurricane1956:
It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans. It is not going to the Caymans.


STOP THIS INSAINE CRAP GUYS
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


wunderkidcayman better pay attention to the XTRP model...


lol
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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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