CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - At mid-morning, Hurricane Isaias was located about 325 miles southeast of Nassau, moving NW at 17 mph. A NW track is forecast today and Saturday before a turn toward the north is expected on Sunday.
Max sustained winds were near 80 mph – category one - but further strengthening to near 100 mph- category two - is forecast on Saturday as the storm blows through the Bahamas. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Bahamas, while a Tropical Storm Watch is now out for SE Florida.
Four to eight inches of rain is forecast for the central Bahamas and there may be a storm surge there of three to five feet.
Isaias is drifting around the periphery of a massive Atlantic ridge of high pressure – the Bermuda high – that will govern its motion for a few more days. Deeper into the weekend, the hurricane is expected to make a more northward turn in response to a trough – a cold front of sorts – that will push in from the west.
Ultimately, Isaias is seeking a path between these two systems that may keep it offshore through the weekend before perhaps closing in on the North Carolina coast Monday.
There are still a great number of variables in play with this hurricane, so I urge you to stay alert to changes in the forecast.
In the short term, if you are planning to get a last-minute beach trip in this weekend, the weather may cooperate to a point, but there are major risks to those who enter the surf.
While thunderstorm chances are expected to remain low through Saturday night and there will be enough sunshine to push readings to near 90° today and Saturday, there will be a growing rip current threat in advance of the approaching hurricane.
Only swim at beaches where lifeguards are present and if you are not a strong swimmer, you might want to consider just getting your feet wet.
As the weekend wears on, the risk for rain will gradually increase along the coast and the wind will pick up Sunday, perhaps gusting more than 30 mph. By Monday morning, tropical storm conditions can be expected with the weather going downhill rapidly from there during the day.
- Meteorologist Al Conklin