Tropical Storm Isaias Reorganizes North of Dominican Republic, Watch Issued for South Florida

The circulation around Tropical Storm Isaias reorganized near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday afternoon and Tropical Storm Watches were issued for part of the coast of southeast Florida.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Isaias was located at latitude 19.5°N and longitude 70.6°W which put it about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  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 999 mb.

Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for 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, San Salvador, Andros Island, New Providence, Eleuthera, the Abacos, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama Island and Bimini.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet, Florida.

The low level center of Tropical Storm Isaias moved across the eastern part of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.  The middle and upper parts of Isaias skirted along the east coast of Hispaniola.  The various levels of Tropical Storm Isaias appeared to be reconsolidating near the northern coast of the Dominican Republic just to the east of Puerto Plata.  New thunderstorms were forming near the reorganizing center of Isaias.  Those storms were generating upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the tropical storm and allowed the pressure to decrease.  Brands of thunderstorms were wrapping around the eastern and northern sides of the circulation.  The strongest winds were occurring in the portions of those bands over water.  The circulation around Tropical Storm Isaias tightened up on Thursday.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out 240 miles (390 km) to the north and east of Isaias in the parts of the circulation that were over water.

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 will intensify when it moves north of Hispaniola and it could intensify rapidly once an inner core consolidates.  Isaias could intensify to a hurricane on Friday and it could strengthen into a major hurricane during the weekend.

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 36 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 over the Turks and Caicos by Friday morning.  Isaias will move over the the Bahamas on Friday and it could approach southeast Florida on Saturday.  Tropical Storm Isaias could approach the coast of the Carolinas on Monday.  Tropical Storm Isaias will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.  Heavy rain could cause flash floods.