Tracking the Tropics: Florence nears NC coast, watching Isaac

Sustained winds remained at 90 miles per hour, but the storm - which was never expected to threaten the USA coast - should begin to weaken over the next day and become a tropical storm on Thursday, forecasters said in an 11 a.m. advisory.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 120 miles per hour (195 km/h) with higher gusts. On the forecast track, Isaac's center is forecast to move across the central Lesser Antilles and into the eastern Caribbean Sea on Thursday.

All watches and warnings were discontinued yesterday.

Little change in strength is expected over the next several hours as Isaac moves through the Leeward Islands.

The specialists refer to the probability that it will be reoriented towards the British Isles in an extratropical cyclone condition.

Joyce and Helene are both now tropical storms that will continue to stay out to sea and not impact the U.S. Data supplied by the US National Hurricane Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 38.8 N, 31.6 W. Helene is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 83 km/h (51 mph).

According to the NHC 11 p.m. Tuesday update, Tropical Storm Isaac's center is "outrunning" the deep convection by about a degree due to strengthening westerly shear. Although slow weakening is expected to begin by late Thursday, Florence is forecast to be an extremely unsafe major hurricane when it nears the USA coast late Thursday and Friday. Given its expected slow speed once it rolls ashore, they warned the heavy rain and storm could spread across a wide area.

States of emergency were declared in the Carolinas; Virginia; Washington, DC; and Maryland, where some coastal areas are still recovering from summer storms.

For tropical storms, two's company, three's a crowd and five is, well, unprecedented. Indeed, stalling just off the coast on Friday could increase the storm surge, which is now expected to be as high as 14 feet.

  • Joey Payne