Isaac Expect To Reach the Emerald Coast by Tuesday

By: Joe Moore and NWS Office, Tallahassee Email
By: Joe Moore and NWS Office, Tallahassee Email

Tropical Storm Isaac moving northwest. Isaac is being steered northwestward through a break in the upper level ridge over the Gulf of Mexico. Isaac is expected to continue moving off to the northwest until making final landfall along the northern Gulf Coast. Currently, landfall is expected late Tuesday or early Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle.

** Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday and approach the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
** Confidence in the track is increasing, with significant impacts expected for much of the tri-state area. Potentially damaging winds, significant storm surge, as well as inland flooding from heavy rains are all possible for portions of the area.
** It is still too early to pin down the exact magnitude and locations for these impacts.

Potential Impacts:
Flooding: Heavy rainfall has affected much of North Florida over the last three months, with many areas of the Big Bend, southeast Alabama, and the coastal Panhandle more than 10 inches above normal for the year. Much of this rain has fallen this summer. The image above shows the current forecast for total rainfall over the next 5 days. There is a large area of more than 6 inches of rain across the Panhandle and eastern Big Bend, extending into southeast Alabama. Localized areas could see more than 10 inches of rain, especially if Isaac slows down after landfall. This region, as well as the remainder of the Big Bend will be at most risk of Flash Flooding and eventual river flooding.

Wind: Isaac is currently forecast to make landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 90 mph. In addition, Isaac is expected to have a very large area of tropical storm force winds. Therefore, there is the potential for wind damage as Isaac approaches and makes landfall. The extent and location of the damaging winds is highly uncertain at this time, since these factors will be sensitive to the exact track and intensity of Isaac.

Storm Surge: Since Isaac is expected to be a large storm, there is the potential for significant storm surge, along with coastal flooding, beach erosion, and extremely large surf. These impacts will be possible all along the coast of the Big Bend and eastern Panhandle. However, much like the wind threat, the extent and location of the surge threat is highly dependent on the exact track and intensity.

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