The Hurricane Hunter Mission has found that Tropical Storm Isaac has continued to deepen and is slowly starting to strengthen as well. Pressure has been reported to have fallen to 981mb while winds have risen to 70mph. This is the border between tropical storm and Hurricane – any stronger and it will be a hurricane.
Isaac appears to be developing an eye wall tonight, but there is some dry air very near the core of the storm and it could be entrained into the developing eye wall and slow or halt development tonight. If this does not occur, steady or rapid intensification is likely as Isaac is in a region of very light upper level winds with the extremely warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico beneath it.
Folks in Southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the far western Florida Panhandle need to pay close attention to this storm as Isaac will likely be a strong if not major hurricane coming ashore. I would expect:
- Hurricane conditions (winds sustained greater than 74mph) near the center
- A storm surge at the immediate coast of 6-12 feet; perhaps as high as 18 feet depending on localities and strength of Isaac at landfall.
- Flooding rains of 10-20″- this is a large storm that is expected to slow down
- Tornadoes are always a possibility in the outer bands of landfalling tropical cyclones
Just a reminder that tropical storm conditions are possible as far away as 200miles from the center of Isaac, and the tornado producing outer bands extend just as far away – so all of these states need to prepare for these impacts. Useful links:
- National Hurricane Center
- NWS Lake Charles, LA
- NWS New Orleans/Baton Rouge, LA
- NWS Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL
- NWS Tallahassee, FL
- NWS Jackson, MS