Tropical Storm Isaac reforms, remains unpredictable

Terence Little
September 15, 2018

Isaac is forecast to move across the central Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea Thursday, and then move across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea through Saturday.

As of 5 P.M. Wednesday, the "storm of a lifetime" continued to make its way toward the Carolina coast, with max winds of up to 120 miles per hour. Forecasters said some reduction in forward speed was expected over the next few days, followed by a possible turn to the west-northwest late Sunday.

A smaller hurricane dubbed Isaac is reportedly heading for the Caribbean, while Hurricane Helene - now also in the Atlantic - is forecast to track towards the UK. "Maximum sustained winds remain near 90 miles per hour (150 km/h) with higher gusts".

A NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane that investigated the oncoming Tropical Storm Isaac Wednesday evening and found that the system has weakened a bit, according to the National Weather Service. Its maximum sustained winds dropped slightly from 110 miles per hour earlier Thursday to 105 miles per hour, but the storm remains a Category 2 hurricane that is expected to cause widespread catastrophic damage. That's out in open ocean, where waves are much larger than those reaching the coast as storm surge.

North Carolina alone is forecast to get 9.6 trillion gallons, enough to cover the Tar Heel state to a depth of about 10 inches (25 centimeters).

"This storm will bring destruction to North Carolina", Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday morning.

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Since the hurricane season began this summer, there have been nine named storms in the Atlantic, which is above average, Klotzbach said.

Forecasters at the Met Office have issued severe weather alerts as Hurricane Helene creeps closer to the UK.

Flash-flooding is likely over low-lying and flood-prone areas.

Emma Smith, meteorologist with the Exeter-based Met Office, said more details would emerge within the next day over what impact the storm might have.

Besides Florence, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring four other systems now. Fountain says most storms are an inconvenience, "but Hurricane Florence will be a life-changing event for many people here in the Carolinas".

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