A NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane that investigated the oncoming Tropical Storm Isaac Wednesday evening and found that the system has weakened a bit, according to the National Weather Service.
But in their 11 p.m. Wednesday advisory, the NHC forecasters hastened to add that Isaac still is expected to be producing tropical-storm-force winds when it moves across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday and passes by St. Croix early Friday.
The center of Isaac is forecast to pass 109 miles south of St. Croix at 2 a.m. on Friday. At that time, Isaac is expected to be a tropical storm with top winds of 50 miles per hour.
No storm warnings have been posted yet for the territory, but tropical storm warnings are in effect for Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe. Tropical storm watches are up in Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, St. Maarten, and Saba & St. Eustatius.
While there are no watches or warnings for the Virgin Islands at the present time, there is the potential that some winds of Isaac may affect St. Croix as the storm passes south of the islands on Friday morning. Isaac also has the potential to bring 1-2 inches of rain to portions of St. Croix.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the center of Isaac was about 566 miles southeast of St. Croix. The tropical storm is tracking to the west at 20 miles per hour with top winds of 60 miles per hour with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from the center.
The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the territory is prepared for any further developments of Tropical Storm Isaac, as well as for the remainder of the hurricane season.
According to a statement on the agency’s website, federal partners from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Management Assistance Team and Defense Coordinating Element are on the ground and poised to support. Based on the Sept. 10 Emergency Management Council meeting, “agencies and departments are on alert and are prepared to activate their disaster response protocols.”
“My staff and I will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac,” said VITEMA Director Mona L. Barnes. “We are still in the peak of the 2018 hurricane season; therefore, residents must continue to remain vigilant, monitor the weather and ensure emergency supply kits are prepared with up to ten days of supplies. We should also continue to keep our brothers and sisters located in the Carolinas in our thoughts and prayers as Hurricane Florence approaches their area.”
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