FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- South Florida is fully within Tropical Storm Isaias' forecast track as projections move it slightly more east.
Tropical Storm Isaias, which became the ninth named storm of a busy 2020 hurricane season late Wednesday night, saw its forecast track make a small move to the east in early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center, with the center of that track keeping the core of the storm slightly off the shores of South Florida.
All of South Florida, however, remains in the forecast path of a storm that had tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 415 miles from the center in the latest advisory.
The system is projected to remain a tropical storm for its foreseeable duration (maximum sustained surface winds ranging from 39-73 mph). Little change in strength is anticipated until landfall in Dominican Republic later today, with re-strengthening forecast on Friday and Saturday, the NHC said Thursday.
Top wind speeds of 70 mph were predicted in a forecast discussion Thursday, which is just short of hurricane strength. Some models show it at hurricane strength near the US, according to the NHC.
In the 8 a.m. advisory, the storm was moving northwest at 20 mph and was about 125 miles west of Ponce in Puerto Rico and about 105 miles east-southeast of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph.
It is expected to continue aiming northwest with a dead-center pass over Hispaniola (the island that comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti), contending with mountains as high as 10,000 feet.
Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs) is expected to continue on a northwest track until it reaches Florida, where a turn north is anticipated.
Tropical storm-force gusts could arrive here as early as Friday night, but Saturday is much more likely, NWS Miami said. The wind field is massive, with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 415 miles north from the system's center.
It also said that "ahead of any impacts from the (impending) tropical system, most of the rainfall this week will be over the interior and Gulf coast of southern Florida," with rain chances increasing for Florida's east coast on Friday.