For several days forecasters have been tracking Tropical Storm Isaac. Initial forecast tracks seemed to favor a close brush with Tampa and Sanibel early this week. On Sunday afternoon the center of the storm has moved over the Florida Keys, with heavy rain and winds gusting to over 60 mph.
The most recent update on the track of Isaac was released shortly before 4 p.m. CDT and continues the trend of taking the center of the storm away from Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico. It has yet to strengthen to hurricane force of 75 mph winds or greater.
From the Hurricane Center’s 4 p.m. statement…MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 60 MPH…95 KM/H…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS…AND ISAAC IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE IN A DAY OR TWO.
The forecast allows for a considerable uncertainity as the storm churns through the warm waters of the Gulf. Experts are cautioning the storm could take aim on New Orleans as it strengthens to hurricane force winds.
For now, confidence seems relatively high that the storm’s center will continue to track northwest away from Florida. Monitoring by satellite, buoy reports and aircraft will allow for a more accurate prediction of landfall in the next 48 hours.
IR Satellite image 345 p.m. CDT August 26, 2012