Tropical Storm Isaac three-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- The centre of Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to make landfall in Haiti on Friday evening, move near or over southeastern Cuba on Saturday and move near or over central Cuba on Saturday night.
Thousands of people in Haiti are still living in tents after the devastating earthquake more than two years ago.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, the centre of Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 100 miles south-southeast of Port au Prince, Haiti, and about 300 miles southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba, moving toward the northwest near 16 mph. This 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 have increased to near 65 mph, with higher gusts. Little change in strength is likely before landfall, followed by some weakening as the centre crosses Haiti and southeastern Cuba. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 miles from the centre.
Total rainfall accumulations of 8 to 12 inches, with maximum amounts of 20 inches, are possible over Hispaniola. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches, with maximum amounts of 12 inches, are possible across central and eastern Cuba, as well as Jamaica. Total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with maximum amounts of 6 inches are expected over Puerto Rico. Total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible over the southeastern and central Bahamas.
Tropical storm conditions were spreading over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with hurricane conditions possible. Tropical storm conditions are expected over the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands later Friday and Friday night, over the central Bahamas by Saturday or Saturday night, and over Andros Island by Sunday. Tropical storm conditions are expected over eastern Cuba by Friday night and over central Cuba by Saturday or Saturday night. Tropical storm conditions could reach northwestern Cuba and the northwestern Bahamas by Saturday night or Sunday
A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds in the tropical storm warning areas. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by dangerous waves.
Dangerous surf and rip current conditions will affect Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the southeastern and central Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and eastern and central Cuba during the next couple of days.
Summary of watches and warnings in effect:
A hurricane watch is in effect for:
A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
• Dominican Republic
• Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo
• Andros Island
• The central Bahamas including Cat Island, The Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador
• Southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, The Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands
• Turks and Caicos Islands
A tropical storm watch is in effect for:
• Cuban Provinces of Matanzas and Cienfuegos
• The northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos, Berry Island, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence.
• The Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas
• The Florida east coast south of Jupiter Inlet
• The Florida west coast south of Bonita Beach
• Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee
Meanwhile, satellite images indicate that former tropical storm Joyce has degenerated into a broad area of low pressure located about 1,030 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph. Some increase in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days, with a turn toward the northwest forecast on Sunday. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, but the remnant low could degenerate into a trough at any time.
Another broad area of low pressure centered about 150 miles south of the Cape Verde islands has a medium chance -- 30 percent – of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours as it moves toward the west or west-northwest at 10 to 15 mph.