WEDNESDAY 7:10 P.M. UPDATE:
Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine is continues to bring heavy rains and possibly life-threatening flash flooding Wednesday on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the system was moving west-northwest at about 23 mph with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph.
On the present forecast track, the system will pass south of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, near or over Hispaniola on Thursday and near eastern Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas on Friday.
It will approach the northwestern Bahamas and southern Florida Friday night.
Forecasters say it could become Tropical Storm Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs) sometime Wednesday before either moving over or around Puerto Rico, where tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued. They could see upwards of 3-6″ of rain, with isolated amounts up to 10″.
The 5 p.m. track shifted the storm back to the east, with some of the models keeping it off our coast.
When the system moves toward Hispaniola, it will run into rugged mountains, which may limit strengthening.
By the weekend, the system will approach Florida. Still, there is uncertainty as to its exact track, considering that there is no real center of circulation at this time.
Computer models show about a 50 percent of West Palm Beach seeing tropical storm-force winds.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
-Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra
-U.S. Virgin Islands
-British Virgin Islands
-St. Martin and St. Barthelemy
-Saba and St. Eustatius
-Dominican Republic entire southern and northern coastlines
-North coast of Haiti from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the northern border with the Dominican Republic
-Turks and Caicos Islands
-Southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
-Central Bahamas, including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvado
Tropical Storm Isaias is moving over the Caribbean Islands and it may eventually travel to South Florida.
A few things are working against this system. There is dry air to the north with some Saharan Dust. Also strong upper level winds known as Shear are helping to keep it in check and of course land interaction.
The storm is forecasted to move over the Leeward Islands early on Wednesday with heavy rain and gusty winds, then travel over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday evening. It could reach Dominican Republic and Haiti the next day. Cuba will get the rain and wind by Friday.
Eventually it could reach South Florida and the Bahamas. All that may change if the center is found in a different location than presently estimated. The system will be pushed NW by high pressure and will look for the gap between the high and the approaching jet stream as its route north.
After the Caribbean, it is somewhat unclear where the system will go and what intensity it will have. South Florida and the Bahamas should monitor closely. Many things can change in the next 24-48 hrs. with the forecast track.