Double Trouble: Tropical Storm Isaac and Joyce

TROPICAL Storm Isaac and Tropical Depression 10 (soon to be Tropical  Storm Joyce) are forecast to double-up in the Atlantic/Caribbean. Of the two Isaac looks to be the most destructive and TD 10/Joyce the weaker of the two.

Sadly Tropical Storm Isaac seems intent on hitting as many Caribbean islands as meteorologically possible. Isaac is currently forecast to intensify into a hurricane shortly after passing through the Leeward Islands. This is potentially a big storm in an area of warm water and low shear so needs to be watched carefully.

If Isaac does island-hop in the forecasted manner then its potential to intensify will become limited following transition into a full-blown hurricane. This is because hurricanes like lots of warm water to fuel the engine room at their core, dry land robs them of their power source and currently the models are not in agreement over the extent to which Isaac’s interaction with the highlands of Hispaniola and Eastern Cuba will reduce its intensity. As producers of surf the current outlook is for limited expectations, bar a few pockets of excellence dotted around the fringe or hidden around the right corner.

A subtropical ridge (elongated high pressure) to the north of Isaac along 30N latitude  is forecast to steer what should become Hurricane Isaac along its southern boundary, roughly along the line of the Greater Antilles. Not great news for residents of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti or the

Dominican Republic. Around day four or five this ridge weakens and Isaac should turn north-westwards across Cuba and up towards Florida. There is general consensus in all the models that this will happen with the GFS putting the hurricane slightly higher and to the right. For surfers and locals alike it would be wonderful for the track to just shift a little to the north, just a few of hundred miles would be ideal.

*This isn’t a good news story for anyone but the Democratic Party. The hurricane’s Floridian arrival is scheduled for August 27/28th, bang on the date that the Republican Party will officially nominate Mitt Romney at their convention in Tampa, Florida.