*Updated to add St Kitts and Nevis to islands under tropical storm watch.
FLORIDA, United States, Tuesday September 11, 2018 – Isaac has weakened to a tropical storm, but as it gets closer to the Lesser Antilles with a threat of strong winds and heavy rains, a hurricane watch has been issued for Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica, while Antigua and Montserrat are under tropical storm watch.
And the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said interests elsewhere in the Leeward Islands should monitor the storm’s progress as additional watches could be issued this afternoon or evening.
At 11 a.m., Tropical Storm Isaac, carrying maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour, was located about 775 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and was moving towards the west at 16 miles per hour. It is expected to continue on a westward path toward the islands.
“On the forecast track, Isaac is anticipated to move near or over the central Lesser Antilles on Thursday and move into the eastern Caribbean Sea later on Thursday night,” the NHC said.
By the time it moves through the central Lesser Antilles, Isaac is expected to be near hurricane strength before weakening on Friday.
Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area – Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica – by Thursday morning, with tropical storm conditions possible early Thursday in both the tropical storm watch area – Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat – and the hurricane watch areas, the NHC added.
All of the islands under watch were significantly impacted by Hurricanes Maria or Irma last September, with some of them still trying to rebuild.
Forecasters say Isaac is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with isolated amounts near 10 inches across the southern Leeward Islands late this week, with 1 to 2 inches anticipated across portions of the Windward Islands.
“A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels is possible near and to the north of where the centre moves through the Lesser Antilles. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the NHC added.
“Swells generated by Isaac will begin to affect portions of the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday afternoon. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Meanwhile, Hurricane Helene will move away from Cabo Verde Islands into the open waters of the central Atlantic through the week, posing no direct threat to land.
And Hurricane Florence will take aim at the Southeast coast of the United States late this week, likely as a major hurricane.