Isaac still tracking west of Fla., but forecast not unanimous

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center calls for Tropical Storm Isaac to pass by Florida's west coast toward Alabama and Louisiana, but there is disagreement from at least one meteorologist on that.

The hurricane center's 2 p.m. update on the storm calls for Isaac to reach hurricane status as it passes by Florida in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday and Tuesday. Forecast tracks, which have left some questions about which side of Florida the storm would pass, have shifted more to the west, with most likely landfall now somewhere between the Florida panhandle and New Orleans.


Still, that is several days away and thus still quite fuzzy. Expect frequently shifting forecasts on that as the storm gets closer. Isaac is currently expected to pass the Tampa area well off the coast, perhaps by a few hundred miles, Tuesday morning.

AccuWeather's Henry Margusity is convinced Isaac will shift to the north coming off of Cuba, skimming Florida's Atlantic coast and striking South Carolina. In a blog post, he cites influences from the Atlantic ridge, a weak trough over the Gulf of Mexico, and historical trends for storms to curve north after passing Puerto Rico.


Weather Underground's Jeff Masters, meanwhile, acknowledges models showing Isaac tracking up the East Coast but writes in a blog post that the consensus is a track through the gulf.

At the moment, Isaac is barely a tropical storm, with weak organization and 40 mph maximum winds, just over the 39 mph threshold. The hurricane center predicts a strengthening to hurricane status before weakening back to a tropical storm as it passes over Haiti and Cuba, and then re-strengthening.

A tropical depression moving to the east of Isaac was meanwhile named Tropical Storm Joyce as of 11 a.m. The storm is not expected to impact the U.S. but could make a turn toward Bermuda.

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An earlier version of the headline to this post incorrectly described Isaac's forecast track. The Sun regrets the error.