Tropical Storm Isaac tracks westward toward Caribbean

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

Storm IsaacIsaac weakened a bit on Monday night while continuing to track westward on a path that could bring it across the Lesser Antilles by Thursday. However forecasters warned that it could still be near hurricane strength when it nears the islands.

And the National Hurricane Center is also watching a disturbance already in the Caribbean that could become a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

But first Isaac. As of 10 p.m. CDT Monday, Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 9600 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west at 16 mph.

Isaac’s winds fell to 70 mph, making it a strong tropical storm. The hurricane center said little change in strength is anticipated over the next few days, “but Isaac is forecast to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the Lesser Antilles later this week.”

Isaac is forecast to continue moving west and pick up a bit of speed through the end of the week.

On that path it will move across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. The hurricane center said watches may be needed for the islands on Tuesday.

Isaac is a small storm, and that is making the intensity forecast a low-confidence one.

Storms that small are notoriously challenging to predict because they are more susceptible to environmental changes around them.

Models are also disagree on how how strong — or weak — Isaac will be.

Some models suggest Isaac will steadily weaken as it encounters wind shear in a few days. But yet another one shows Isaac becoming a major hurricane.

Isaac is one of three named storms in the Atlantic on Monday. The other two are hurricanes.

There’s Florence, which is a Category 4 as of Monday night and forecast to strike the U.S. as a major hurricane this week, and Category 2 Helene, which is in the far eastern Atlantic and not forecast to affect land.

The hurricane center is also watching a disturbance in the northwest Caribbean that could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.

The hurricane center raised the odds of development to 60 percent on Monday night and said a tropical depression could form Thursday or Friday in the western Gulf.

It was forecast to stay on a west-northwest to northwest path.

The hurricane center warned those along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to northeastern Mexico to keep an eye on the system.

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