Update, 6pm: Hazard Management Cayman Islands issued a statement late Wednesday
afternoon stating that Tropical Storm Isaac had now entered the
“monitoring area” for the Cayman Islands. Although Hazard Management said the storm did not present an
imminent threat, it said the National Weather Service would continue to
monitory the progress of the storm.”All residents are urged to stay tuned to the local media for the
latest information and maintain a high level of hurricane preparedness,”
A large but somewhat unorganized Tropical Storm Isaac was strengthening as it neared the Lesser Antilles Wednesday morning heading for the Caribbean Sea.
Where the storm goes once it enters the Caribbean is still in doubt. At 8am EDT Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami forecast at track that would turn north and hit the upper Florida Keys and the Homestead, Florida area, with all three Cayman Islands out of the five-day cone of track uncertainty.
However, by 11am EDT Wednesday, with some of the forecast models showing a significant shift westward, the Hurricane Center shifted its official track west, with the storm going through the lower Florida Keys on its way skirting southwestern Florida. That track shift brought the Sister Islands back into the periphery of the five-day cone of track uncertainty.
In its discussion about the storm at 11am EDT, the National Hurricane Center noted that even the exact motion of the storm was somewhat uncertain, although it officially stated Isaac was heading westward at 21 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Isaac would become a Category 1 hurricane on Friday before making its first landfall in the Dominican Republic.
Atlantic hurricanes beginning with the letter ‘I’ have been notoriously bad over the past decade. 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).
Tropical Storm Isaac was not the only tropical cyclone in the Atlantic Basin on Wednesday morning. The National Hurricane Center upgraded Invest 96L to Tropical Depression Ten in its 11am EDT update. That storm, however, is expected to trek well to the north and east of the Caribbean Sea, although it could potentially impact North America or Bermuda.