Friday, August 24, 2012

Isaac's Continued Reorganization

Isaac reminds me of the business that is in perpetual strategic planning mode -- constantly trying to organize and reorganize itself to get maximum efficiency, only spinning its wheels in the process.  Not that there's anything wrong with an occasional strategic planning and reorganization -- too much is not a good thing for productivity though!  For the last couple of days, that's been the case with Isaac as the mid level circulation of the storm and the surface low have not been aligned together -- separated by varying distance as the storm's large circulation spins west through the Caribbean.  The surface low occasionally appears to close in on the mid level center, only to spread a bit apart as the surface feature tries to move west-northwest while the mid level continues generally west.

Until the two centers get together, the storm will remain a disorganized mess of sorts.  Isaac is still poised in computer modeling and in NHC forecasts to turn more west-northwest and then northwest over the next 48 hours as it begins to get tugged northward by a coastal low that's developing over the Carolinas which will produce a bit of a break in the Bermuda High.  This coastal feature will provide enough of a break in the high to turn Isaac northwest over Cuba and then into the Florida Straits at some point on Sunday.  While the NHC still has the system tracking over the southwestern tip of Haiti, the storm's reorganization to the south may provide enough of a change to keep the center of the storm's low pressure center away from Hispaniola...however, because Isaac is a larger storm rains will still impact Haiti and the potential for mudslides and flooding for the impoverished country exists.

The storm may not fully get its act together until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico -- modeling still projects a hurricane at final landfall.  Last night's modeling had a much stronger consensus around center track (see below) as Isaac's center is projected to come onshore between Mobile and Pensacola between the GFS computer model and the Euro.  This is in contrast to yesterday's Euro, which had Isaac going into Beaumont, TX as a stronger hurricane (red circles on map below show the more southern/western look)...that track has nudged eastward for now (black circles).  Whether or not that holds or if there will be a nudge back west remains to be seen.  The reorganization farther south may result in a bit more westward nudge as the storm continues to rumble along.

Modeled impacts for our region are still very much to be determined IF Isaac takes a track up towards the Central Gulf coast.  However, the consensus is that Isaac's low goes into the Ohio Valley and then turns east near the Great Lakes and comes near us/over us at some point into Labor Day weekend.  It will be merely be a rain maker at that point and the worst of the rains will have fallen over the South and Ohio Valley.  Some heavy rain is possible locally if such a track were to take place as the remnant low moves through but the worst impacts of the system would be felt elsewhere, not here.

More:  Tropics Tracker