Recently upgraded Tropical Storm Isaac will enter the Caribbean Sea sometime Wednesday night and could impact the weather in the Cayman Islands by this weekend.
The tropical cyclone formed as Tropical Depression Nine early Tuesday morning and strengthened into a tropical storm Tuesday afternoon, becoming the dreaded ‘I’ storm.
As of 5pm EDT on Tuesday, Isaac was 500 miles east of Guadeloupe and tracking west at 17 miles per hour. Its maximum sustained winds were 40 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami forecasts Isaac to become a hurricane with winds of at least 74 mph sometime Thursday in the central Caribbean Sea. From there, the official forecast track turns Isaac northwest – heading north of Jamaica – and to a landfall in Western Cuba on Sunday morning as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
All three of the Cayman Islands are in the five-day forecast cone, with Cayman Brac and Little Cayman much closer to predicted path of Isaac’s centre.
In its discussion of Isaac, the National Hurricane Center noted that there was some divergence between the various forecasting models and that the margin of error for a five-day forecast was almost 260 miles.
Since 2004, four hurricanes starting with the letter ‘I’ have had their names retired because of the deaths, damage and destruction they caused, starting with Hurricane Ivan – which caused massive damage to Grand Cayman, Grenada and the United States in 2004. Other bad ‘I’ hurricanes since then have included Hurricanes Ike (2008), Igor (2008) and Irene (2011).