This is the official blog for Bryan Norcross, Hurricane Specialist at The Weather Channel.
By: Bryan Norcross , 11:33 AM GMT on August 28, 2012
Isaac looks like a hurricane this morning, with an eye-like feature apparent on the satellite. Dry air is continuing to wrap into the center, so its a balance between the many factors that are favorable for strengthening, the dry air, and the limited time the system has left over the water. As I noted last night, the coastline effect can add a little as well. It's looking like a Category 1 at landfall.
The track is pretty clear now. The center should come ashore near the Mississippi River Delta, the far southeastern tip of Louisiana. This track will put the highest winds over New Orleans that the city has seen in decades. And, it will be relentless. Winds will pick up during the day today with the strongest winds in the city this evening and overnight. Then the pounding will only slowly recede tomorrow.
Strong onshore winds will also affect the Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida Panhandle, but the track of the center into Louisiana will mean the winds farther east won't be perpendicular to the coast, which will keept the storm surge heights a little less that they would have been with a track farther east. Still a maximum of 4 to 8 feet of water above the land is forecast for the Alabama coast, and 3 to 6 feet in the Panhandle. Storm surge flooding is continuing to affect low lying areas in the Florida Peninsula due to the large area covered by the circulation.
The highest storm surge - the forecast continues to be 6 to 12 feet - will be on the Gulf side of southeast Louisiana and in Mississippi. This won't be Katrina, but life-threatening high water will be pushed over the coast today and tonight. The onshore winds will keep the water high for an extended period.
Low-lying areas inland will be especially dangerous due to flooding rains that can't drain at their normal rate. Do NOT drive through flooded roadways. The water will be moving faster than normal, and it only takes six inches of water to move a car.
Let's hope we get lucky... but the best evidence is that luck is going to hard to find. See you on The Weather Channel.
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.