By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun
11:34 AM EDT, August 24, 2012
Tropical Storm Isaac is gaining strength and organization just south of the Dominican Republic as of Friday morning, and forecasters are still expecting it to follow a northwestern path into the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as of 11 a.m.
The latest track takes it over eastern Haiti and across Cuba as it heads toward making landfall in the U.S. somewhere between New Orleans and southern Florida. The most likely route as forecast this morning takes the storm to the Florida panhandle, though that isn't until early Wednesday, so it could change again.
The storm is expected to pass by the Tampa Bay area, site of the Republican National Convention, early Tuesday, but the current forecast has it a few hundred miles off the coast.
AccuWeather.com's Henry Margusity is standing by predictions he has held for days that the storm will make a turn more to the north and come up the Atlantic Coast, though he recognized that is against what most models are saying at this point, writing in a blog post this morning.
Margusity's colleague, Dan Kottlowski, head of the AccuWeather.com hurricane center, agrees with the models that Isaac is much more likely to move through the Gulf of Mexico.
What was Tropical Storm Joyce has meanwhile disorganized so much that the storm isn't technically a tropical cyclone anymore, and is now being called Post-Tropical Cyclone Joyce.
Kirk is the next of this year's hurricane names, and a low-pressure system off the African coast could claim it. The hurricane center gives the system a 30 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone over the next two days.
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