It’s going to be a windy weekend. According to the National Hurricane Center, winds from the Tropical Cyclone 9, which could develop into Tropical Storm Isaias, will most likely arrive in the Florida Keys on Friday evening, July 31.
Although the cyclone has wind speeds that would qualify it to become a named tropical storm (45 mph as of the morning of July 29), it doesn’t have the organization required to be labeled as such.
“It doesn’t have a closed circulation center yet,” said Jon Rizzo, weather warning coordinator for the National Weather Service in Key West. “Right now, it’s more like a tropical wave with turbo.”
Rizzo noted that it’s a large storm and too early to predict its effects in the Keys because of its current situation. “We don’t know if and where the storm might concentrate,” he said.
On July 29, storm officials shifted the cone to the westward and current maps show it coming across the Keys. Again, officials are expecting tropical storm wind speeds, but not a monster storm because the factors needed for rapid intensification are not there, Rizzo said:
- It’s not a well organized storm with a defined center of circulation.
- It’s likely to take a path over Hispaniola; the mountainous range is famous for knocking down storms.
- There is an increasing chance of wind shear as the storm moves through the Florida Straits toward Florida.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms are predicted for the last day of mini-season on Thursday, July 30. Winds are expected to freshen, or pick up, on Friday. The main dangers will be rough waters and power outages. Visitors who are leaving the Keys with trailered boats should also use caution, especially on bridges. Rizzo says that in the coming days the office will be calculating rainfall estimates for the Keys.
With the approach of a tropical storm, Keys residents are advised to secure loose objects in the yard, take down patio umbrellas. Park the cars and trailered boats out of the way of falling limbs. And, as always, stay tuned to local weather reports and reliable media sources. See keysweekly.com or the Facebook page “The Weekly Newspapers.”