Isaac Turns Deadly in Haiti

By Matt Alto, Meteorologist
August 26, 2012; 7:01 AM
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This satellite image, courtesy of NOAA, captured Isaac Saturday morning.

Tropical Storm Isaac has been lashing Hispaniola with heavy rain since Friday, triggering flooding and claiming lives.

The Associated Press reports Isaac left at least seven people dead across Haiti. Two children are among the dead.

Heavy rain across Hispaniola will finally ease overnight as Isaac churns to the northwest with the worst of its flooding rainfall on its east side.

After Isaac crossed the southwestern peninsula of Haiti earlier this morning, it will continue on a northwestward along the northeastern coast of Cuba into tonight.

As it does so, more of its torrential rain and isolated tornado danger will shift from Hispaniola to eastern Cuba.

The path of Isaac through tonight will force the storm to continue to interact with land, delaying Isaac's ability to strengthen into a hurricane until it is over the Florida Straits on Sunday.

As of Saturday afternoon, tropical storm wind gusts were already occurring over portions of eastern Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas. Tropical storm winds are expected to spread into central Cuba by this evening before reaching northwestern Cuba and the northwestern Bahamas late tonight or early Sunday morning.

The biggest impact across Cuba and the Bahamas over the next 36 to 48 hours will be the flooding rainfall. Much of Cuba can expect between 4 to 8 inches of rainfall with some mountainous locations picking up as many as 20 inches of rain.

These rainfall amounts will lead to life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides. Flooding will remain possible throughout Cuba through Sunday.

Winds circling around the center of the storm will cause the ocean water to rise onto the coastlines across eastern Cuba. Peak storm surge will be 1 to 3 feet.

A larger version of the latest forecast track map for Isaac (with times in EDT) can be found on the AccuWeather Hurricane Center.

As the storm begins to slide further away from Cuba and into the very warm waters of the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Isaac is expected to rapidly gain strength.

Areas of concern will begin to shift northward beginning on Sunday as the storm continues towards the northwest. As the storm strengthens, it will target Florida and the northern Gulf Coast.

Even the Republican National Convention in Tampa will be impacted by Isaac.

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