2012 iStorm Isaac May Aim for Florida

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
August 23, 2012; 4:49 AM ET
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Current projections bring Isaac, now a strengthening tropical storm, to Florida's neighborhood during the first part of next week.

The latest forecast path map. A larger version of this map can be found on the AccuWeather Hurricane Center.

As we have said early on, steering currents will direct Isaac along a general curved path around high pressure over the Atlantic.

Impacts from Isaac in Florida will depend on the strength, size and track of the system and will range from sunny, breezy and hot conditions to Category 1 or 2 hurricane effects.

For planning purposes, if the peninsula remains in the middle of current AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center window of movement projections, conditions will deteriorate with increasing thunderstorms, gusts winds, heavy rain and building seas from south to north Sunday night to Tuesday.

Such a path will bring the risk of travel problems, downed trees, power outages, property damage, street flooding, storm surge and beach erosion.

Exactly when Isaac begins a more aggressive northward curve, near the disruptive mountains of the Greater Antilles (Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba), will determine if the storm tracks directly over Florida, Atlantic waters east of Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.

At this time, all are on the table, until we see a definitive northwest turn.

Climatologically, systems coming from this direction in the Caribbean tend to steer toward either side of the Florida Peninsula.

"Meteorological issues are the strength and size of Isaac, the strength and shape of the Atlantic high, a trough of low pressure in the eastern-central United States, wind shear and warm waters," according to Dan Kottlowski, head of the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center. "At present, Isaac is in a very favorable zone for intensification with low wind shear and minimal dry air. It is heading into increasingly warmer waters."

A large Category 1 or 2 hurricane will have more impact than a minimal tropical storm on Florida or other areas in terms of wind, rain and surf.

North of the Great Antilles, the water is very warm around the Florida Straits, but wind shear will increase north of this area.

Prior to reaching Florida waters and impacting the peninsula of the Sunshine State, Isaac will batter the northern Caribbean islands from the Leewards to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba spanning this week. During this time, Isaac will fluctuate in strength ranging between a tropical storm and a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.

"Unlike other systems that have cruised the Caribbean, this system is not likely to struggle with dry air or plow due westward to Central America," Kottlowski said. "It is a concern for Florida, part of the Atlantic Seaboard and the eastern and central Gulf area next week."

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