Tropical Storm Isaias Drops Heavy Rain on Puerto Rico

Tropical Storm Isaias dropped heavy rain on Puerto Rico on Thursday.  At 8:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Isaias was located at latitude 17.6°N and longitude 68.5°w which put it about 105 miles (165 km) east- southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  The center was about 80 miles (130 km) south of Cabo Engano.  Isaias was moving toward the northwest at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1003 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, Culebra, Vieques, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands,  the entire coast of the Dominican Republic, Le Mole St. Nicholas, Haiti to the northern border with the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos, the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, the Ragged Islands, Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.  Tropical Storm Watches were in effect for Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, the Abacos, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama Island and Bimini.

Bands on the eastern side of Tropical Storm Isaias were dropping heavy rain over parts of Puerto Rico on Thursday morning.  Flash Flood Warnings were in effect for parts of the island.  Isaias was also causing winds to tropical storm force in parts in Puerto Rico.  A station at Yabucoa Tanque de Agua reported a sustained wind speed of 46 m.p.h. (74 km/h) and a wind gust to 56 m.p.h. (91 km/h).  A station at Las Mareas reported a sustained wind speed of 3 m.p.h. (69 km/h) and a wind gust of 54 m.p.h. (87 km/h).

The circulation around Tropical Storm Isaias exhibited much more organization on Thursday morning, although the mid-level center did appear to be displaced to the north of the low level center.  There was a center of circulation but the distribution of thunderstorms was asymmetrical.  Most of the stronger thunderstorms were occurring in bands in the eastern side of Tropical Storm Isaias.  Storms near the center of circulation were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the tropical storm.  Bands in the western half of Isaias consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Northerly winds on that side of the circulation were sinking over the southern part  of Hispaniola and that could have been suppressing the development of thunderstorms in that region.  The circulation around Tropical Storm Isaias was very still very large.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 415 miles (665 km) on the northern side of Isaias.

Tropical Storm Isaias could weaken when the low level center of circulation moves across the eastern part of the Dominican Republic.  The low level circulation will be disrupted by the terrain but it looks like Isaias will pass east of the tallest mountains on Hispaniola.  The mid-level center of Tropical Storm Isaias appears to be passing very close to the eastern end of Hispaniola.  The middle and upper portions of the circulation are likely to remain intact and a new low level circulation could form north of Hispaniola.  Tropical Storm Isaias will move through an environment favorable for intensification once it moves past Hispaniola.  Isaias will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Isaias is likely to intensify when it moves north of Hispaniola and it could intensify rapidly once a new low level center of circulation develops.

Tropical Storm Isaias will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system over the North Atlantic Ocean.  The high will steer Isaias toward the northwest during the next 48 hours.  it will turn the tropical storm more toward the north on the weekend when Isaias reaches the western end of the high pressure system.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Isaias will move across the eastern part of the Dominican Republic today.  Isaias will move over the Bahamas on Friday and it could approach southeast Florida on Saturday.  Tropical Storm Isaias will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and the Bahamas.  Flash floods could occur.

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