After what feels like the longest tropical pregnancy ever, Potential Tropical Cyclone #9 is now Tropical Storm Isaias. Now that it has finally developed a closed center of circulation and low pressure, we can start to get a better idea of where it’s going and how strong it’ll be when it gets there. BUT! As mentioned before, it’s still a bit early to know for sure, as uncertainty is higher than usual given the storm’s rocky past.
We do know that Disney’s Castaway Cay is now under a tropical storm watch, though we note that the island is likely operating under a skeleton crew given the unprecedented shutdown of the global cruise industry. And, as we learned during Dorian, there is a storm shelter on the island in the event that conditions on the island become dangerous.
Closer to home, the track has shifted eastward but the Attractions area remains in the cone of uncertainty. The 11PM graphics from the National Hurricane Center indicate we have between a 20%-39%% chance of tropical storm force winds in the Attractions Area, with the earliest reasonable time of arrival being around 8AM Saturday (but more likely starting around 8PM Saturday). The current thinking has the storm becoming no stronger than a tropical storm throughout its lifespan, so there are currently no fears of hurricane-force winds in our area. However no one should completely write off this system just yet. As noted by the NHC:
While this system could bring some rainfall and wind impacts to portions of Cuba, the northwestern Bahamas, and Florida later this week and this weekend, it is too soon to determine the location or magnitude of those impacts. Interests there should monitor the progress of this system and updates to the forecast over the next few days.
In the first storm-related closure we’ve heard, the state’s official COVID-19 testing sites are due to close at the end of the business day on Thursday and not reopen until sometime next week.
A few more days to watch… keep calm and carry on!