As Tropical Storm Isaac moves toward the southern coast of Hispaniola, forecasters and emergency managers in the Tampa Bay area are continuing to watch the storm closely.
While the storm’s projected path has moved to the west, the entire Tampa Bay region remains in the National Hurricane Center’s five-day “cone of uncertainty.” The forecast cone is used to show the areas that might be impacted as a tropical system moves through.
The hurricane center’s 11 a.m. update for Aug. 24 shows all Bay area counties within the cone’s eastern boundary. This has emergency managers throughout the area continuing to watch the storm’s progression closely. Most counties and municipal authorities throughout the Bay are issuing regular updates and many areas are offering residents free sandbags to help out in the event of flooding.
Pasco County’s Emergency Management Office, for example, is warning residents the storm may be in the area around 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, in time for the first day of the Republican National Convention in downtown Tampa.
Even so, it’s still too early to tell for sure where Isaac will eventually go, officials say.
As of 11 a.m., the storm was moving toward the west-northwest around 14 mph, according to the hurricane center. Isaac is expected to make a turn toward the northwest sometime today and stay on a northwestward path through Sunday. Maximum sustained winds right now are at 60 mph with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds are extending out from the storm up to 185 miles from the center.
As all eyes remain on Isaac, forecasters are saying the Tampa Bay area is in for a relatively nice few days considering.
“At least for today and tomorrow, we’re going to be pretty dry for summertime in Florida,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole Carlisle. There’s about a 20 percent chance of rain today with a slightly higher chance tomorrow.
“Sunday is when, depending on the track of Isaac, it will start to deteriorate,” Carlisle said. “Even if it (Isaac) passes to the west of us, we could still see some rain bands that could have some pretty strong winds and isolated tornadoes.”
Stay with East Lake Patch for updates on Tropical Storm Isaac as they become available.