Isaac is now a tropical storm in the Caribbean. By Monday, forecasters say, it is expected to be just off Florida's coast east of Homestead. As for Tampa, Tuesday looks to be likely day for a soaking.
Tropical depression 9 graduated to tropical storm Isaac Tuesday afternoon, and overnight, many long-range forecast models had converged on the length of western Florida or the eastern Gulf Coast as the likely areas for an eventual US landfall.
Indeed, the National Hurricane Center in Miami currently anticipates that, by 8 a.m. Monday, the center of a hurricane Isaac will be located just off Florida's southwest coast some 65 miles east of Homestead, Fla., although the errors in such forecasts so far in advance are large – some 225 nautical miles east or west of that projected track.
Depending on the whim of atmospheric steering winds, Isaac could arrive at or near Tampa, Fla., the site of next week's Republican National Convention, by Tuesday. The convention is slated to run Aug. 27-30.
For now, forecasters have posted tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches for most of the major islands in the eastern Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. At 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, Isaac's center was located some 230 miles east of Guadeloupe, an island in a long island arc forming the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Isaac's maximum sustained winds were hitting 45 miles per hour, with the tropical-storm-force winds extending as many as 60 miles from the storm's center.