Thursday, August 30, 2012

At 8 p.m.: Isaac is history; Hurricane Kirk, TS Leslie form

The National Hurricane Center notes that Isaac has been downgraded to a depression but continues to drench southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi with heavy rainfall, and a significant storm surge continues.

All coastal warnings have been discontinued. No more updates on Isaac will be released.

The 5 p.m. NOAA hurricane update put newly formed Tropical Storm Leslie on the map. It's about 1,000 miles east of the Windward Islands and may become a hurricane in the next day or two, but is not expected to reach the U.S.

The storm Kirk has been upgraded to a hurricane, and is located about 1,500 miles west-southwest of the Azores. It also appears to be no threat to the United States.

 The newly formed TS Leslie is located about 1,125 miles east of the Windward Islands.

5 a.m. EDT update, Isaac continues slog through Louisiana

Here's the 5 a.m. EDT forecast cone for Tropical Storm Isaac, via the National Hurricane Center:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

11 p.m. EDT update: Tropical Storm Issac creating storm surge

As of 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday, slow-moving Tropical Storm Issac was dumping heavy rain over Louisiana, and still producing a significant storm surge, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Isaac was located about 70 miles west of New Orleans, or 15 miles south of Baton Rouge, La. Winds were holding at 60 mph and the storm was moving to the northwest at 6 mph.

Water levels were expected to remain high along the northern Golf Coast for several days.

The strongest winds are primarily over the water or near the coast. The story is expected to continue to weaken over the next 48 hours, becoming a tropical depression by Thursday night.

Tropical Storm Kirk not expected to threaten Florida

Tropical Storm Kirk is churning across the central Atlantic Ocean, but projections by the National Hurricane Center show it turning to the northeast before it can pose any threat to Florida.

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Kirk was located 1,220 miles north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, or 1,435 miles southwest of the Azores. It had sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west-northwestward at about 9 mph.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

11 p.m. update: Isaac makes landfall

As of 11 p.m.. EDT, Issac was an 80-mph hurricane ashore on the Louisiana coast near New Orleans.

In its update, the National Hurricane Center warned of flooding in Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle from a possible 7 to 14 inches rain expected from the storm. Maximum sustained winds were still at 80 mph. Isaac continued to move northwesterly at 8 mph.

Power was out across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday night, with power company Entergy reporting more than 150,000 without power in the New Orleans area alone, McClatchy Newspapers reported. The National Hurricane Center reported a storm surge of eight feet has been reported at a National Ocean Service tide gauge at Shell Beach, La., and 5.3 feet in Waveland, Miss.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bradenton weather simmers down as Isaac takes aim at New Orleans

At 11 p.m. Aug. 27, as the National Hurricane Center issued its latest update, there was little breeze or rain in Bradenton.

Little sign that Tropical Storm Isaac was building and heading toward New Orleans.

The latest: 

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Tropical Storm Isaac keeps Manatee County beaches churning

A tide surge of 3-5 feet is expected along Manatee County beaches 8 a.m. Aug. 28 and Aug. 29 as Tropical Storm Isaac moves past Anna Maria Island.

The storm has riled up Gulf of Mexico waters, hazarding boats that are not securely moored.

Boaters are asked to use caution in the rough Gulf of Mexico waters off Manatee County.
(Herald photo by Wade Tatangelo)

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Tropical storm warning for Manatee, Florida west coast is lifted

A tropical storm warning for Manatee and the rest of the west coast of Florida has been lifted, as Tropical Storm Isaac tracks to the upper Gulf Coast.

The warning was lifted, as of the 11 a.m. update  from the National Hurricane Center:

Isaac may 'compromise' Anna Maria Island beaches

Tropical Storm Isaac may not be bringing as much wind and rain as might have been feared, but it may be delivering another punch to Anna Maria Island beaches.

In June, Tropical Storm Debby, which like Isaac remained over the Gulf of Mexico west of Manatee County, severely eroded beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Isaac may do it again.

At a 7 a.m. briefing at the Manatee Emergency Operations Center, operations chief Steve Simpson said officials were expecting waves of 10 to 18 feet off Anna Maria.

"The beaches are going to be a bit compromised again," Simpson said.

Tyler Fleming, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, said Manatee County can expect a storm surge of one to three feet.

"With all the water piling up we can expect to see strong rip currents at least through Wednesday,” he said.

Even if the sun comes out it may not be safe to go swimming, Fleming said.

“Pay attention to any signs posted at the beach,” he said. “Rip currents are a very deadly threat.”

Simpson did say officials expect tropical storm-force winds to be out of the area by 1 or 2 p.m., but that rains stirred up by Isaac may continue into mid-week.

As of early Monday, about 20 people were being housed at shelters at Manatee High School and Nolan Middle School, Simpson said.

And fewer than 10 customers were reported to be without power.

-- Miriam Valverde

Sunday, August 26, 2012

11 p.m. Sunday advisory shows Tropical Storm Isaac well separated from Manatee County

MANATEE -- Tropical Storm Isaac -- big, dangerous and disorganized -- blustered 120 miles west of Manatee County on Sunday, apparently sparing Bradenton of significant damage.

Prospects were more uncertain for New Orleans, which could be in Isaac’s cross hairs.

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Forecast Cone for Storm Center

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Tropical Storm Isaac at 8 p.m. Aug. 26, 2012

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Menace from Isaac remains, but Manatee awakens encouraged

Manatee County's Emergency Operations Center was fully activated on Sunday. (Herald photo)

MANATEE -- Tropical Storm Isaac has taken a more westerly track into the Gulf of Mexico, one that could have it making landfall near Mobile, Ala.

But that doesn't mean that Manatee County residents should let down their guard, emergency management officials warned Sunday.

Manatee County should anticipate the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac as early as 3 p.m. today through 2 p.m. Monday.

That includes intermittent tropical winds with bands of heavy rain and  surge impact estimates of 3 – 5 feet, according to the 11 a.m. National Weather Service briefing.

Tropical storm winds can carry a 39 – 58 mph punch. During  sustained winds in excess of 40 mph, high-profile vehicles are discouraged from traveling on the roadways.

"Such vehicles include those used by emergency services. Residents are encouraged to stay indoors and off the road," county officials said.

All MCAT buses, including regular routes,the Island Trolley, and hand-bus (Paratransit) will cease operations at 6 p.m. Sunday

Isaac is still a very large storm, said Greg Bacon, one of the emergency operations officers, at an 8 a.m. briefing, as the EOC went into full activation.

Tropical storm winds from Isaac hitting Manatee County mid-afternoon Sunday would be a little sooner than had been previously anticipated.

"Isaac will probably be a Category 1 hurricane about 120 miles west of Manatee County, but it can get closer or farther away," said Bacon. "We will see significant rains. It's a very wide storm and we're expected to see the onset of tropical force winds as early as Sunday afternoon through Monday evening."

Isaac is expected to bring 4 -7 inches of rain between Sunday and Tuesday.

The last of Isaac should exit Manatee County on Monday evening, rather than Tuesday morning.

Storm surge in Manatee County from Isaac is expected to be on the order of three to five feet after the storm passes,  less than originally projected.

The mood in Manatee's Emergency Operations Center seemed to lighten a bit after Bacon reported that Isaac has "moved to the left."

Residents living in low-lying areas and in mobile home parks remain under a voluntary evacuation order out of concern for tropical winds.

A band from Isaac passed through Miami bringing with it a 50 mph gust, Bacon said.

Shelters  opened at Manatee and Braden River high schools at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Manatee High School has been designated the pet friendly shelter. A shelter for special needs persons at Nolan Middle School also opened at 10 a.m.

Manatee County's public schools and State College of Florida have announced that they will be closed on Monday.

A school board meeting Monday night has been postponed, and a decision has not been made on when that meeting would be rescheduled, Margi Nanney, school district spokeswoman said Sunday.

Schools may reopen on Tuesday, but a decision will be made based on winds and Isaac's behavior, she said.

Also closed Monday: Manatee County, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Palmetto government offices, the Manatee Clerk of Courts and Manatee County court system, and Suncoast Workforce Career Center, 3526 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. There will be no garbage collection Monday in Bradenton or in unincorporated Manatee County.

Operations at Port Manatee continue, under "Condition Zulu," meaning that it is closed to boat traffic, said Ron Koper, Manatee County public information officer.

About 150 emergency workers, representing everything from local government, to law enforcement, utilities, and transportation, gathered for the EOC activation on Sunday.

Manatee residents may fill up to 10 sand bags per household on Sunday and Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following distribution points:

Buffalo Creek Golf Course, 8100 69th St. E., Palmetto

G.T. Bray Recreation Center, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive W. Bradenton

Lakewood Ranch Park, near Lakewood Ranch High School

39th St. Stormwater Facility, 5511 39th St. E., Bradenton

Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto

The City of Bradenton is providing free sandbags to city residents 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.  Sunday at the City’s Yard. Enter through the gate off 13th Ave. West – right across from 7th Street West.

Bradenton residents can receive up to 10 sandbags per household with proof of residency.

The Lake Manatee elevation is just under 38 feet. Residents within the Lake Manatee spillway were notified that they may need to evacuate Sunday.

The Manatee County Health Department warned that weather information indicates water levels in the Myakka Head are nearing flood conditions.

"Although skin contact with flood waters does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, health hazards are a concern when waters become contaminated," the health department said in a press release.

Flood waters may contain fecal material, associated bacteria and viruses. It is important that individuals affected by flood water avoid eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated by flood water, do not wade through standing water, and practice basic hygiene including frequent hand washing using soap and clean water.

Owners of private wells that have been flooded or affected by flood waters are urged to boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute before using it for drinking, washing, or cooking, etc.

Water may also be disinfected by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 teaspoon – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6 percent) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination.

Residents may also use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

For further information, please contact the county health department at 941- 708-8497 or the Florida Emergency Information Line at (800) 342-3557.

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Forecast Cone for Storm Center

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

11 p.m. update: Isaac strengthening, aims for the Keys

Includes information from the 11 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center:

At 11 p.m. Saturday, Isaac was strengthening, its center 340 miles east-southeast of Key West with sustained winds of 60 mph. It was moving northwest at 17 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The center of the storm was expected to move near or over the Florida Keys -- at or near hurricane strength -- by Sunday. Isaac is forecast to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by early Monday.

Manatee County officials declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon after the county fell under a tropical storm watch as  Isaac continues to make its way through the Florida Straits, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Read more here.

Schools in both Manatee and Sarasota counties will be closed Monday. Organizers have postponed Mondays events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Tropical winds should be present in Manatee County by 7 p.m. Sunday and continue through 5 a.m. Tuesday. Manatee County is expected to get five to eight inches of rain Sunday and Monday, officials said.

Friday, August 24, 2012

11 p.m. update: Isaac getting better organized

Includes 11 p.m. EDT update from National Hurricane Center.

The latest forecast cone for Tropical Storm Isaac shows it getting stronger and faster, and that the main track has moved a bit back toward Florida's Gulf Coast, increasing the chance Manatee County may experience high winds by Monday or Tuesday.

At 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center notes Isaac is getting better organized as it grinds toward Haiti.  

The storm was expected to reach Haiti before daybreak Saturday. Gradually, the forecast track for Isaac has the storm moving over Cuba by Saturday and crossing the Florida Keys on Sunday.

At 11 p.m. Friday, Isaac was located about 65 miles south-southeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti and 245 miles from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It had sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts, and was moving northwest at 14 mph, down from 16 mph earlier in the day. Tropical-force winds are extending 230 miles from the storm's center.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

11 p.m. Thursday update: Tropical Storm Joyce forms, then is downgraded.

Tropical Storm Joyce formed in the eastern Atlantic on Thursday morning, but by 11 p.m. was downgraded to a depression, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11 p.m., the Hurricane Center said Joyce was located 1,200 miles east of the Leeward Island, with winds of 35 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph and should be no threat to the U.S..

11 p.m. Update: Isaac churns toward Haiti

Updated with 11 p.m.. EDT update from National Hurricane Center.

The forecast track for Tropical Storm Isaac continues to drift westward -- away from Florida -- although most of the state will feel its effects next week.

The latest projection, issued at 11 p.m. Thursday,  Isaac was located about 145 miles southeast of the Dominican Republic and moving toward the west-northwest at 18 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 45 mph with higher gusts.

The center of the storm is approaching the south coast of the Dominican Republic and should reach Haiti on Friday, and Cuba Friday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph with higher gusts. Strengthening is still forecast during the next 48 hours, and could become a hurricane Friday.

It covers a large area, with tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 miles, mainly to the northeast of the center.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Updated at 11 p.m.: Isaac could reach SW Florida by Monday

Tropical Storm Isaac is moving through the eastern Caribbean Sea and could reach our area by late Monday, the National Weather Service predicts. But the storm is still too far away to be certain it will actually hit the Tampa Bay area.

Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay reports the storm's actual path could very easily go west or east of Florida.

"With an average error on Tropical Storm Isaac's forecast track still 5 days out," Clay said, "the margin for error is 225 miles and forecasting how strong the storm will be this far out is not possible.

Although there is good model agreement on bringing Isaac south of Puerto Rico and into Hispaniola, "we’ve looked very carefully at the details of the model solutions in days 4 and 5, and there is tremendous disagreement on the pattern, even within just one of the models," Clay said.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, Issac was centered at 15.8N, 63.0W, about 270 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's maximum sustained winds were 45 mph, moving west at 20 mph.

Many Caribbean islands closed schools and government offices Tuesday.

The storm is expected to eventually turn northwest, where it could pose a threat to Florida because of two high pressure systems that could steer the storm if it isn't broken up by mountains on its trek across the Caribbean, Clay said.

"A weakness in the subtropical high could bring Isaac up toward Florida by the end of the weekend and early next week. Conditions appear to be very favorable for strengthening by that time."

Isaac is expected to hit the Dominican Republic as a hurricane early Friday. It is then expected to hit Cuba as a tropical storm.

The storm is threatening to disrupt events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week. 
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Wednesday morning that Tampa won't hesitate to pull the plug on the Republican National Convention if Isaac threatens the Tampa Bay area as a major storm, but the convention is an all go as of Wednesday night.

 Tropical Depression 10

Of less concern locally is Tropical Depression 10, which formed earlier Tuesday far eastern Atlantic and is expected to become Tropical Storm Joyce within the next couple of days.

The system is tracking northwest, and most computer models show it away from Florida.

UPDATED at 5 p.m.: TS Isaac growing, still on track for Florida

UPDATED at 5 p.m.: Isaac will affect Florida, emergency officials say. 

A bigger, faster and stronger Tropical Storm Isaac is moving over the Leeward Islands on its way westward, the National Weather Service says.

At 5 p.m.Wednesday, Isaac is about 25 miles south-southeast of the island of Guadeloupe with sustained winds near 45 mph, with higher gusts. Based on surface observations and hurricane hunter aircraft, tropical storm force winds are extending outward up to 80 miles, mainly to the north of the center of the storm.

Isaac's center is near latitude 16.0 north, longitude 61.2 west. The storm is moving toward the west at 22 mph and should move near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, approaching the Dominican Republic Thursday night and Friday.

More strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Isaac could become a hurricane Thursday night or Friday.

The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a hurricane warning for the south coast from Isla Saona westward to the Haiti-Dominican Republic southern border. A hurricane watch has been issued for all of Haiti.

Various computer models show Isaac tracking west into the Caribbean, where numerous variables would determine whether it threatens Florida or any other part of the southeastern United States.

Long-range models have this system close to South Florida by Monday.

We're only five days out from the opening of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, scheduled to run Monday through Thursday. As Mayor Bob Buckhorn told CNN Wednesday morning, Tampa won't hesitate to pull the plug on the convention if Tropical Storm Isaac threatens the Tampa Bay area as a major storm.
Read more here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac could threaten Florida

A new tropical storm -- Isaac -- has formed in the eastern Caribbean.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, the system's center was located at 15.6 North, 55.6 West, about 380 miles east of Guadeloupe with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

The National Hurricane Center says Isaac is moving west at 17 mph.

Tropical storm watches are in effect for most of the Lesser Antilles, including Martinique, Dominica, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Antigua, Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. A warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

On the forecast track, Isaac should move through Antilles Wednesday afternoon or evening, emerging in the eastern Caribbean Sea by Thursday, strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane.

From there, it's path is uncertain. Some forecast models have it curling through the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall in Southwest Florida, while others have it staying south of Cuba. If it does wind up heading this way, South Florida could begin feeling Isaac's effects as early as Sunday, forecasters say. It could also disrupt the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.

The National Hurricane Center also is monitoring a separate disturbance in the eastern Atlantic, giving it a high chance of developing. Models indicate that system will trek northwest over the next five days.