Tropical storm Isaac which is now churning over the Caribbean islands is being carefully monitored by the National Hurricane Center. The center is predicting that Isaac will pick up momentum as it moves east due to warm water temperatures and low to moderate wind shear, turning it into a full blown hurricane. The storm is now packing winds of 40 miles per hour and in order to become a hurricane, it has to sustain winds of over 74 miles per hour.
Issac could be the first hurricane to strike the United States this season if it does stay on its projected path that puts Florida in its cross hairs. The GOP National Convention is set to kick off in Tampa next week with tens of thousands of people in attendance. Thus far, forecasters are saying that the storm is heading right toward Tampa bay, so GOP and state officials are preparing contingency plans if the storm does near the Tampa area.
Isaac has been encountering some dry air and modest vertical wind shear which has helped to slow its development down. However, there is a lot of concern that the system will grow stronger over the next 24 to 48 hours as wind shear levels are expected to drop. If Isaac does not directly pass over land in the Caribbean and tracks to the south of the largest islands, it is sure to grow stronger to become a very threatening storm.
FEMA is reminding the residents of Florida to be ready for a hurricane strike and to keep their attention on weather forecasts and warnings. Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the country. The Sunshine State has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 2005 when Wilma came ashore so many south Floridians are becoming non-nonchalant. Residents of Florida should remember that it was twenty years ago this month when Hurricane Andrew struck their state. Andrew as a very large and powerful Category 5 storm that killed over two dozen people and caused nearly $30 billion in damage when it hit landfall south of Miami at the end of August in 1992.
It is now time for those living in hurricane-prone areas to come up with plans to follow in case a major storm does hit. Families should plan where they will meet if separated at the time of being told to evacuate. Now is also the time to prepare property for a possible hurricane strike by securing large items and inspecting roofs & drainage systems. It’s also important to help elderly family members and neighbors prepare for a possible hurricane strike.