Tropical Storm Isaac five-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- Tropical Storm Isaac formed in the Atlantic on Tuesday and was heading directly towards the Eastern Caribbean at 17 mph. On the forecast track, the centre of Isaac should move through the central Lesser Antilles on Wednesday evening and emerge over the eastern Caribbean Sea by Thursday morning.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT, the centre of Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 500 miles east of Guadeloupe, moving toward the west near 17 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph, with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St Martin, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the US Virgin Islands.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the warning area by Wednesday afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible over the northern Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands. Total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches with maximum amounts of 6 inches are possible over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in the northern Leeward Islands. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by dangerous waves. Dangerous surf and rip current conditions will affect the Windward and Leeward Islands during the next couple of days.
According to the USVI government, while the forecast is for the centre of the storm system to remain to the south of St Croix, winds and rains are expected to have an effect on weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday. St Croix is expected to receive some sustained tropical storm force winds on Thursday morning.
USVI Governor John de Jongh has directed the Commissioner of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs to impose a price freeze on Wednesday to protect consumers as they prepare for the storm’s passage.
Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) in Montserrat is monitoring closely the developments of the storm system, which expected to bring tropical storm winds close to Montserrat later on Wednesday.
It is anticipated that Montserrat will be affected by wind speeds of about 35 miles per hour, with higher gusts, and rainfall of about 5 to 8 inches can be anticipated, DMCA director Billy Darroux said.