Isaac downgraded but still watched

Antiguans and Barbudans can feel some relief that Tropical Storm Isaac, which was forecasted earlier as a potential hurricane to hit the twin island state by today had been deemed yesterday to be “poorly organised” and weaker as it moved closer to the Caribbean.

However, a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius while St. Martin and St. Maarten were added to the watch on Wednesday afternoon. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected to arrive, which makes outside preparations difficult or dangerous – and Tropical-storm-force winds are possible within the tropical storm watch area today.

A tropical storm warning continues for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. Tropical-storm-force winds (39 mph or higher) are expected to arrive on Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe by early Thursday. A warning means tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

Isaac remained a strong tropical storm as of late Wednesday afternoon, located about 300 miles east of Martinique. As Isaac moves through the western tropical Atlantic Ocean, it is anticipated to bring strong winds, heavy rainfall and possibly life-threatening flash flooding to parts of the Lesser Antilles beginning today.

According to an Associated Press report, shelters are being opened in Dominica and the authorities there have indicated that they will turn off water and power as a precautionary measure.

The tropical storm is battling strong winds in the upper atmosphere and it is possible Isaac could degenerate into a tropical wave as it moves through the Lesser Antilles. Heavy rain and gusty winds would still impact the islands even if Isaac did fall apart.

Steered westward by high pressure to its north, Isaac is forecast to move through the Lesser Antilles today and tomorrow.

Isaac will produce rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches, with localised totals up to 8 inches, across Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. Up to one inch of rainfall is expected across the remaining Windward and Leeward Islands

Some coastal flooding is possible in areas of onshore winds. Along the coast, large waves will accompany the surge.

Isaac may bring a moisture surge to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, increasing shower and thunderstorm activity there late this week. Across Puerto Rico and the southern U.S. Virgin Islands 1 to 2 inches of rainfall, with isolated amounts up to 4 inches, is anticipated.

This weekend Isaac is forecast to move toward the central and western Caribbean as a tropical storm. This is somewhat uncertain, however, given the strong upper-level winds it’s battling now. 

According to the Miami based National Hurricane Center, at 5 p.m. Antigua time yesterday, Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 300 miles east of Martinique and was moving rapidly west.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Airlines has announced that due to Tropical Storm Isaac flights BW 434 BW 435 Port-of-Spain to St. Lucia will be affected and passengers are advised to contact its reservation offices for rebooking on the next available service.