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Tropical Storm Watch Issued For Parts of South Florida

A tropical storm watch is now in effect from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet as Tropical Storm Isaias makes its way northwestward.  A tropical storm warning is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas.

At 5 pm Thursday, Isaias was located near 19.5 North, 70.6 West, 155 miles west-northwest of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and 250 miles southeast of the southeastern Bahamas.  Isaias was moving northwest at 20 miles per hour.  Maximum sustained winds were 60 miles per hour.

The National Hurricane Center forecast at 5 pm Thursday calls for Isaias to become a hurricane on Friday.  Its projected track brings it near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday.  It will be a close call for the east coast of South Florida.  Expect tropical storm force gusts in the Upper Keys, Miami-Dade and Broward, with hurricane force gusts and sustained tropical storm force winds later on Saturday and into Sunday from the Palm Beach area northward. The Gulf coast of South Florida will see a blustery day but a low chance of tropical storm force winds.  This could change, however, and we’ll be watching Isaias and the computer model runs closely Thursday night and Friday.

Friday will be the day to complete preparations in the east coast metro area of South Florida and the northwestern Bahamas.  People in the Bahamas should put up hurricane shutters.  In the east coast metro area of South Florida, shutters appear to be optional, but it’s still too early (unfortunately) to rule out shutters completely.  Computer model runs this evening and overnight will be critical, and Friday morning will be the time to make the decision about shutters.  In the meantime, do all of the other preparations you’d make fo rdealing with  tropical storm force winds and possible power outages.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.