TS Isaac is currently feeling the effects of land as it moves over eastern Cuba. The rugged terrain is no doubt taking a toll on the low level center of circulation and this has caused weakening which will continue until the center moves back out over the very warm waters of the Florida Straits. At that point, it is possible that Isaac will regain hurricane intensity and could do so rather quickly. For this reason, hurricane warnings have been posted for much of extreme south Florida, including all of the Keys.
Once Isaac emerges over the water, it will roughly parallel the Cuban coast which means a prolonged period of continued heavy rain for the island. And since the storm is still quite large in size, its effects will spread in to the Florida peninsula well ahead of the center passing through the Keys late tomorrow night or early Monday. Make no mistake, if Isaac is strengthening as it passes through the Keys, its effects will be significantly enhanced, especially the wind. As I have mentioned many times before, it has been our experience that an intensifying storm/hurricane tends to bring the wind down to the surface much more efficiently so please keep this in mind and heed the advice of your local emergency management officials. If you’re told to evacuate, do it. Don’t try to wait and see how strong Isaac gets. It will definitely be too late, especially if it rapidly intensifies over the very warm water.
The next concern will be for the Panhandle region of Florida. Isaac is forecast to make landfall perhaps late Tuesday night. Exactly where cannot be determined yet but keep in mind, the storm surge will be highest to the east of where the center makes landfall. Here too, when the time comes to evacuate, do so without hesitation. It really is better to be safe despite the aggravation of going through the evacuation process. Waiting on Isaac can be a deadly mistake. We can hope all we want but hope is NOT a planning tool.
I am packing up the Chevy Tahoe with gear to prepare to head to Florida today. I will meet up with colleague Mike Watkins and we’ll cover Isaac’s effects for the next several days. I’ll head to SW Florida first, then to the panhandle region after that, unless the track shifts west more and Isaac is forecast to pass farther away from SW Florida. We’ll see as I drive the 12 to 14 hours ahead of me to even get down there.
I will stream LIVE on our Ustream channel which will be embedded on the homepage here once I depart North Carolina. Along the way, you can watch my progress, hear and see everything that goes on. I will also post video blogs to our iPhone app, several of them per day. So if you have the app, be looking for numerous video updates throughout the next few days in the video section of the app. Remember that, unfortunately, you have to completely close the app and then restart it to refresh the video pages. This was overlooked in the initial development and the update coming out soon will have a fix for this.
Florida has not had a hurricane in seven years. I hope that people are ready for what Isaac brings. We will do our best to provide information and updates along the way via this site, Twitter, our app and our exclusive subscriber site, Client Services. A lot of what happens with Isaac will hinge upon how quickly it regains strength over the Florida Straits. Be prepared for anything, especially in the Keys. I’ll see you all from the road this afternoon.