Colleagues, Little change in the forecast for Tampa. Change is in point of landfall. The Florida Panhandle will be hit by a Category 1 hurricane late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning. I had said that by Saturday, things will become clearer. It is now Saturday. The RNC pep rally, followed by the DNC pep rally, before the championship match in November, will come off without being seriously disrupted by weather. Good news for both teams. FORECAST: Tropical Storm Isaac just left Haiti only slightly weakened with winds of 60 mph headed NW at 13 mph. It is already raining in the Fl Keys. Sunday, Isaac will become a hurricane and move around the western tip of Florida. Forecast for Keys and Peninsular Florida (Miami etc) remains the same, except the lower Keys will experience hurricane force winds. All the keys and south Florida will face Tropical Storm force winds. Orlando will experience heavy squalls and Tropical Storm gusts. The forecast for Tampa remains the same, heavy rains and squalls with strong gusts, tropical storm force winds, rough seas and inland flooding in low-lying areas, starting Monday.
Rain in the Panhandle and in Tallahassee will begin (perhaps late) Monday with squalls with tropical storm force winds and gusts. Coastal surge forecast remains - there will be very rough seas along the Gulf coast, particularly east of PC and especially in the Big Bend area (sometimes affectionately referred to as the arm pit of Florida). Expect the storm tide in certain areas, such as St. Marks, Ochlockonee Bay to be as much as 6 feet or so, depending on the astronomical tide. Coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana will have rain and some gusts if this forecast is verified.
Land fall of a Category 1 hurricane will be near Panama City or Apalachicola or possibly west of there. This is the only significant forecast change in the last week.
DISCUSSION: Isaac nearly missed Haiti, good for both Haiti and Isaac, and will just skirt northern Cuba, avoiding the brunt of the mountains. Weakening will be minimal. The heart of the past week's forecast and reasoning remains intact. The significant change is: landfall of a Category 1 hurricane will be near Panama City or Apalachicola, a shift eastward. This is what I will be focused on in the hours ahead and there does remain some uncertainty in when the sharp turn to the right will take place. That is the one remaining forecast issue. My thoughts are: just before landfall. The consequence of this single issue can make a difference of 200 miles on the point of landfall and is the reason I forecast a shift to the east.
NEXT FORECAST: Tomorrow, Sunday, August 26, sooner if new data comes in that would allow refinement. I will be watching the data come in constantly until after landfall. I have your back to the best of my ability.
DISCLAIMER: The Florida State University required that I not use any FSU equipment to send out these forecasts. To comply, I have purchased my own computer for making and sending these forecasts. I have been touched by the many offers of encouragement and support that I have received. I am deeply indebted to the Secretary and the staff of the Department of Children and Families who value these forecasts for the citizens of Florida. Also to the firm Hayes Computer Systems, which set up the distribution software and is providing for the distribution of these forecasts at no cost. They are very professional and competent. I acknowledge that these forecasts are mine alone, by my own effort and initiative. I only try to provide the best possible forecasts for the community, and the State of Florida and now, surrounding states at no cost to those who receive it.
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Peter S. Ray
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