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August 2012

Isaac on Track to hit Hispaniola, then Florida

   Posted by Levi at 5:15pm on August 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac is starting to become better organized this morning after struggling a lot last night with decoupled centers in the low and mid levels, and a more consolidated, vertically-stacked center appears to be forming south of Puerto Rico. Forward motion has slowed from 21mph yesterday to 13mph now, indicating that Isaac is approaching the western periphery of the subtropical ridge to the north, and this slowing should help the storm strengthen on approach to Hispaniola during the next 24-48 hours. Intensification into a moderate-strong tropical storm seems likely, but hurricane strength before Hispaniola seems a little bit too much to ask for. The intensity forecast remains a tad lower than the NHC in the short range, a theme which has verified very well so far. Interaction with the mountains of Haiti and eastern Cuba should weaken Isaac, but restrengthening should be quick to ensue north of Cuba due to improving upper-level conditions and very warm water in the storm’s path. Isaac could quickly become a hurricane very close to Florida if it gets any significant time over water on either side of the peninsula.

Isaac is beginning to move WNW around the periphery of the subtropical ridge, which currently extends into the Bahamas. Isaac will be gradually curving more towards the NW with time, taking it over Hispaniola and eastern Cuba, and eventually towards Florida. The models are in close agreement, and Florida is very likely to be significantly impacted by Isaac. The only exception is the ECMWF, which is still a western outlier, taking Isaac into Alabama in 7 days. This is a slight shift eastward from previous runs though, and may be the start of a correction trend eastward for the ECMWF towards the other models. The upper pattern ahead of Isaac features a weakness in the ridge that will be directly north of the Bahamas in 3 days, something that a strengthening storm coming off of Cuba may be more likely to take advantage of than some of the models show. The forecast track is still east of the model consensus at Days 4 and 5, very close to the eastern coast of Florida, similar to the 00z CMC and 06z GFDL solutions. The wildcard in the track forecast remains the mountains of Hispaniola and Cuba, which are notorious for jerking storms around, and could easily cause an unexpected shift in track at any time. A NOAA G-IV recon mission into Isaac tonight will hopefully transmit new data in time to be put into tonight’s 00z model cycle, which should result in more accurate track forecasts. If the model consensus remains on the west coast of Florida after they have received the G-IV data, my track may have to shift a bit to the west.

Overall, Florida is likely to get impacted directly by Isaac no matter what adjustments are made during the next few days. The average NHC forecast error for 5 days is 260 miles, and there is lots of room for adjustment while we are still 4-5 days away from a Florida landfall. Until Isaac clears the mountains of the greater Antilles, great inherent uncertainty with such a track will make nothing certain about the long-range forecast.

Elsewhere….Joyce has formed in the central Atlantic, and will be recurving near Bermuda in 5 days or so. This is no imminent threat to land, and can be mostly ignored until Isaac is out of our hair.

We shall see what happens!




  • Tom says:

    Muchas gracias Levi!

  • MirandaQuo says:

    I’m in agreement with you – more east than west. thanks for your thoughts!

  • AIC Poydras says:

    New registrant to your site. Thanks for your analysis.

  • chester says:

    hey Levi just curious what’s your take on the track of Issac as far as how far west do you believe it could go. I know it still has to get through Cuba but I see a lot of people are trying to bring it near NOLA I just can’t see it moving that far west.

    • Levi says:

      As I mentioned in the video I find the central gulf coast to be too far west, but the eastern half of the gulf coast should certainly be eyeing Isaac very closely. The Florida panhandle area has a lot of model consensus near it right now.

  • Barb says:

    Thanks Levi

  • Jeff H. says:


    I navigated to your website yesterday and have found it to be very helpful, educating and interesting. Thank you! My level of education is Meteo 101 and that was %& years ago. It is a little premature but if the storm skirts the east coast of Florida what is your best guess for onward movement further up along the USEC.

    • Levi says:

      Well you are right that it is fairly premature. As it stands Georgia and the Carolinas are already likely to get heavy rains from Isaac as he recurves northeastward after wherever his landfall is. If he does sneak up the east coast of Florida, any separation from the coastline over the gulf stream would likely result in a strengthening storm as it travels north. Same would go for a track on the west side of Florida in the gulf as well.

  • Levi says:

    Well the 12z ECMWF shifted even farther west along the central gulf coast with Isaac. Certainly is keeping up a lot of worry for a track into the gulf over a lot more water than my track or one over the Florida Peninsula would give it. Still want to see the 0z runs tonight which will have G-IV recon data in them, hopefully making them more accurate.

    • Jason says:

      Hey Levi thanks for keeping us up to date on what is going on. I noticed the latest Euro model really shifted west this last run. I live in southeast texas around Beaumont. Could this really be a threat to us or is it just a fluke in the model this run. What are your thoughts? I was very suprised to see it was on top of my area. This is the farthest west I have seen with model yet.

    • Juto says:

      My understanding is that this a capmony-wide project at F+W Media. We weren’t told if CBGXtra’s forums were specifically targeted or not, just that they would be taken down.In the meantime, enjoy Mr. Silver Age’s safe house here on the main website as well as the other content we’ll bring you in the coming days.

  • Beth says:

    Just found your site, your 1:15 update makes a lot of sense to me, the logic seems dead on. I have a curious question. The old timers here on Hatteras say if you get a persistent NE wind this time of year that lasts more than a couple of days, look South for trouble. We started with NE 2 days ago and it is predicted through Monday. What is the science behind that wives tale? IMO it is almost always right….. Sorry for the off the wall question. Thanks!

    • Levi says:

      I think that observation has to do mostly with storms that are only a couple of days away, a bit closer than Isaac is right now. The reasoning behind it is probably that if an area of low pressure is south of Hatteras, since air flows counter-clockwise around it, Hatteras will experience northeasterly winds for a couple days prior to the storm coming ashore..

  • renata says:

    Levi, you pronounce the island of Dominica as if you are saying “Domineeka” – not to be confused with the Dominican Republic 🙂 Islanders like to hear their islands called correctly – cheers and thanks for the good work! <

    • Levi says:

      Apologies. I always mess up island names.

    • Yoni says:

      Hi, i was just wondering when is the best time to take these prdocuts, eg. before food in morning and evening or after food?i have purchased both items and just starting to take them. just want to make sure i get the most out of them which ever way is best to take them. thank you

  • fetoau says:


    Your musings and consternation expressed on Master’s blog are evidence of an intellectually honest young man searching for truth. You have nothing to be ashamed of or to be concerned about.

    There is an old story about a cub reporter obtaining a hereto-for unobtainable interview with the world’s richest man, an elderly man who was a recluse.

    Upon meeting, the old man told the young reporter he would answer two questions.

    The first question was “How did you become so wealthy?”. The old man gave a simple straight forward answer: “By not making any mistakes”.

    After long thought the reporter asked the old man his second and last question: “How did you learn how to not make mistakes?” Again the old man gave a simple and straight forward answer: “By making mistakes”.

    I have been a lurker on Master’s blog for years and have admired your contributions, particularly the logic behind your forecasts, particularly in light of your youth.

    As one who is long in the tooth and spent almost all of my life outside the box (thinking-wise). I think I can offer you some advice (mentor) you on your long and rough road ahead. This is something that I will not do publicly.

    To that end, if you would like what little bit of help I can offer email me your email address to I will them email you my personal email address.

    God Bless,and keep going.

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  • Elvene says:

    The latest rropet I have from our development team is that they’re working on putting them back possibly by next week. Issues with other F+W websites took priority. In the meantime, as we wrote up top, you can post comments in any of the threads and post fresh comments as well. Have you been following Today’s Comics Guide?

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