Update 8:05 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15:
Former Tropical Storm Isaac dissipated overnight, the National Hurricane Center said this morning.
A Hurricane Hunter airplane flew through the remnants of the storm and was unable to find a well-defined center, the hurricane center said in a 5 a.m. advisory.
The patch of gusty weather that’s left is producing winds of up to 35 miles per hour as it drifts west at 16 mph.
Coastal watches and warnings have been canceled.
4 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15:
Tropical Storm Isaac has the potential to strengthen to a hurricane while crossing the western Caribbean and entering the Gulf of Mexico next week, AccuWeather said today.
“Isaac was still showing signs of life on Friday with a blowup of showers and thunderstorms east of the center,” according to hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski, who works for the privately held U.S. forecasting agency.
“As long as this activity continues or reoccurs and the feature remains in an environment favorable for tropical development, it needs to be monitored and not ignored,” Kottlowski said.
As showers and thunderstorms pulse near Isaac, there is the potential for flash flooding on the Greater Antilles including Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Jamaica, as well as the islands along the northern shore of South America this weekend.
AccuWeather meteorologists are not suggesting that Isaac will turn into another Harvey, which fell apart entering the western Caribbean then rapidly regained strength while moving across the Gulf of Mexico.
Waters are sufficiently warm over the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico for tropical development.
“The key will be how much wind shear Isaac encounters along the way and if Isaac manages to avoid much interaction with large land areas such as Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba,” Kottlowski said.
Wind shear is the increase in wind speed with altitude or over horizontal distance. Strong wind shear can prevent a tropic storm from forming and cause a hurricane to weaken. A small amount of wind shear can vent a tropical storm or hurricane and cause it to strengthen.
“Some minor fluctuation in organization and strength is likely over the Caribbean into early next week, but it is from Tuesday on, as it nears and passes through the Yucatan Channel, that we really have to keep an eye on it,” Kottlowski said.
Steering winds are likely to guide Isaac on a north to northwest path that could take the storm to the Louisiana or upper Texas coast during the middle to latter part of next week.
Part of the coast from Louisiana to Texas has been hit by drenching rain while flooding downpours will continue to affect parts of Texas through Saturday, due to an influx of tropical moisture.
While people from the western Caribbean to the United States Gulf Coast should go about their business into next week, they are urged to monitor the situation for any significant changes in Isaac’s strength, but at the same time not dismiss Isaac if the storm is no longer classified as a tropical depression.