By now, nearly everyone in the United States and especially those living in hurricane-prone areas is aware that the country is overdue for a major hurricane strike. Ever since records were kept in the mid 1800s, this has been the longest period the US has gone without a hit from a major hurricane as the country is nearing 360 weeks without a Category 3 or higher storm. However, experts are worried that hurricanes Wilma, Katrina and Rita will become nothing more than distant memories and that people will let their guard down and not be ready for the next hurricane hit.
Right now, tropical storm Isaac, with 40 mile per hour winds is moving on a westerly path toward the Caribbean Islands. The storm is expected to move over the eastern part of the islands by the end of the work week and become a hurricane. Issac is heading toward the direction of Florida which is the most hurricane-prone state in the country. FEMA is now reminding people in Florida and those living in other hurricane-prone states to be ready in case Isaac does come aground. The two named storms of this year that did jar Florida were Beryl and Debby both of which caused widespread flooding and wind damage.
Forecasters are keeping a close eye on Isaac because it does pose a threat to Florida during next week’s Republican National Convention which is being held in Tampa. It has been longer than nine decades since Tampa took a direct hit from a hurricane. The last storm that hit Tampa was Charley in 2004, a Cat 4 storm that packed 150 mile per hour winds. The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Isaac could strike the Tampa Bay area and other parts of the Sunshine State after it moves past Cuba as early as Sunday a.m.
Florida and the Republican party have back-up plans ready in case Isaac makes its way to Florida and the Tampa area including an evacuation if the worse case scenario happens. There will be tens of thousands of people attending the convention so a great deal of focus is being put on being prepared.
As of early Wednesday morning, Isaac was about 350 miles east of Guadeloupe and moving at just under 20 miles per hour. The storm is predicted to become strong over the next two days due to increasingly warm water temperatures and low to moderate wind shear. The storm is the ninth named storm of the 2012 hurricane season and is already affecting cruise ship travel in popular tourist destinations such as Martinque and St. Lucia. There are tropical storm warnings in effect for many Caribbean islands. As the storm grows more powerful and continues eastward, more storm warnings are sure to be posted throughout the Caribbeans. Issac has to have maximum sustained winds of over 74 miles per hour before it becomes a hurricane so now it’s just a waiting game to see if that does occur.