Tropical Storm Isaias gets stronger, could impact the East Coast

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This is the ninth named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After days of struggling to get organized, Tropical Storm Isaias has finally formed in the Carribbean. But now that it’s an official storm, the big question is will it be the next system to make landfall in the United States. 

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Latest conditions on the storm:

As of the 5 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center Isaias had strengthened a little, with maximum sustained winds of 60 miles an hour. 

The system was moving towards the northwest at 21 mph, slightly faster than the last advisory. 

Current Track:

There’s generally good agreement about where the storm will travel over the next two days. The center will pass south of Puerto Rico and across the Dominican Republic.

Where it goes after that is a bit of a challenge. It’s been tough to pinpoint the exact center of the storm, and that will make it harder to pin down it’s track as we go three to five days out. 

The graphic below shows the consensus track from the National Hurricane Center. The models shifted to the east (or to the right, if you will) as Tuesday went on. Much of South Carolina is in the cone, you’ll see, but at this point, it’s not time to get alarmed simply because of that fact. 

As you can see, the track shows it skirting the southeastern U.S coastline, perhaps making landfall north of Miami. Then it would continue to curve toward the east, moving along the northern coast of Florida, South Carolina, and finally North Carolina, where it could brush up against the Outer Banks.

The Dominican Republic’s high terrain and a wall of wind shear near Florida could drastically weaken the system as it approaches the southeast US, however.

However, details of the long-range track have been unstable because of the difficulty the system had in organizing. With that in mind, do not base any travel decisions or safety decisions on this latest model run. The models can and will change over the next several days. 

Spaghetti Models:

If we look at the so-called “spagehtti models,” where each line represents a different computer model, you can see the still remaining uncertainty. The lines are tightly together over the next two days, meaning near universal agreement on the track. 

After that time frame, they split, with about half of the models going west off the coast of Florida; others, however, pull it to the east, skirting off the coast of North and South Carolina, with a possible glancing blow on one of the two states’ coasts. Or it could just turn out to sea.

However, they all have the storm moving west, they making a sharp curve to the east. Will that play out? We’ll soon see. 

Current Analysis: What about South Carolina? 

Right now, it’s still just too early to tell. We’ll continue to monitor this one closely.

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As for the rest of the Atlantic it’s pretty quiet. There are a few tropical waves out there, but nothing of concern right now.

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