Isaac may restrengthen in western Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico this week

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 17, 2018, 11:55:38 AM EDT

Isaac may attempt to restrengthen to a tropical depression or storm while crossing the western Caribbean and entering the Gulf of Mexico this week.

Isaac became a tropical rainstorm early Saturday morning, but just because it has lost its tropical storm status does not mean it should be ignored.

As showers and thunderstorms pulse near Isaac, there is the potential for localized flash flooding in Jamaica into Tuesday and parts of Cuba into Wednesday. Isaac brought 4-8 inches of rain to parts of the Dominican Republic over this past weekend.

Static Isaac Downpours

AccuWeather meteorologists are not suggesting that Isaac will turn into another Harvey, which fell apart entering the western Caribbean then rapidly regained strength while moving across the Gulf of Mexico.

Waters are sufficiently warm over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico for some tropical development.

"The key will be how much wind shear Isaac encounters along the way and if Isaac manages to avoid much interaction with large land areas such as Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Isaac Gulf 9.16 AM

Wind shear is the increase in wind speed with altitude or over horizontal distance. Strong wind shear can prevent a tropical storm from forming and cause a hurricane to weaken. A small amount of wind shear can vent a tropical storm or hurricane just enough to allow it to strengthen.

"Isaac is moving westward into an area of low wind shear in the short term," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said. "Due to that, strengthening into at least a tropical depression cannot be ruled out."

When Isaac reaches the Gulf of Mexico, wind shear is forecast to increase, which may prevent rapid organization after it passes the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday and Friday.

Steering winds are likely to guide Isaac on a north to northwest path that could take the storm to the Texas coast this weekend.

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Part of the coast from Louisiana to Texas has been hit by drenching rain while flooding downpours will continue to affect parts of Texas through Sunday, due to an influx of tropical moisture.

While people from the western Caribbean to the United States Gulf Coast should go about their business, they are urged to monitor the situation for any significant changes in Isaac's strength, but at the same time not dismiss Isaac.

Download the free AccuWeather app to keep up-to-date with any bulletins related to Isaac and risk of flooding from ongoing downpours.

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