After pounding Hispaniola, Cuba, and the Florida Keys, Tropical Storm Isaac may be taking aim on Louisiana later this week.
Computer forecast models are now showing a track of this system further to the west, and perhaps making landfall in Louisiana, perhaps around New Orleans Wednesday morning. This track is actually two states west from where it was on Saturday (in the western Florida panhandle around Panama City). Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are in the upper 80s, so there's plenty of warm, moist air and water available for Isaac to evaporate and further strengthen this system. It is currently forecast to come ashore as a category one hurricane with winds between 90-95 miles per hour.
The real coincidence is the date and location of Issac's possible landfall. Recall that in 2005 on August 29, Hurricane Katrina slammed the southeast Louisiana coast. It was ultimately responsible for more than 80 billion dollars in damage, more than 1,800 deaths, and hit as a category three. If you'd like to read more about Katrina and the damage it produced (including photos), click here for the complete National Weather Service storm damage report.
Isaac wreaked havoc this weekend across earthquake stricken Haiti (in 2010) producing copious amounts of rainfall (8" to 12" with isolated 15" to 20"), along with 50 to 60 mph tropical storm force winds. The storm is now moving away from the lower Florida Keys, but is expected to intensify into a category one hurricane off Florida's west coast by later Monday in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical systems hit hurricane status when their winds reach 74 mph or greater.
The latest information from the National Hurricane Center has about 4" to 7" inches of rain expected across the southern Florida peninsula, 50 to 60 mph winds, and isolated tornadoes as the center of Isaac tracks out to sea off the Florida's west coast. Click here for the track of Isaac directly from the National Hurricane Center.
In case you're wondering, West Michigan may feel and see the impact from this tropical system on Saturday. Our computer forecast models show the Great Lakes staying dry and protected from precipitation through most of this upcoming week from high pressure. Once the high slides east, it will open the door for all the moisture and energy to ride north into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes for the start of the upcoming Labor Day weekend. The track may change, so stay tuned to later forecasts. Right now, there is rain in our forecast for Saturday and early Sunday, when we're expecting the arrival of Issac here. Stay up to date with forecasts and tropical updates by going to my facebook page Kevin Craig Fox...here's the link, and I'll friend you up! https://www.facebook.com/#!/kevin.craigfox. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.