EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Just a few days ago, it seemed all but certain that Tropical Storm Isaac would make landfall somewhere along the Alabama or Florida panhandle coastline as a category one hurricane by the middle of next week. And while that is still a possibility, it is not as likely a solution as many thought just a couple of days ago.
Discrepancy in the Models
In recent runs by our various computer models, some of them have been trending much further west than the original forecast track had advertised much of last week.
The ultimate dilemma stems from two of our more reliable computer models that we use to forecast weather on a day-to-day basis. The European model, known as the ECMWF model, tracks Isaac towards Mobile, Alabama by early Wednesday morning. On the other hand, our United States model, known as the GFS model, takes Isaac toward the southwest Louisiana coastline by Wednesday morning.
The big spread between these two different model solutions has led to more uncertainty as to where Isaac will make landfall this week.
It should be noted that due to the deep, warm waters in the Gulf, the National Hurricane Center is now expecting Isaac to strengthen into a category two hurricane as it approaches the Gulf coast states on Wednesday morning. The GFS solution (western Louisiana as landfall target) would more than likely mean a stronger hurricane, due to the fact it would spend a little longer out over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Impacts in East Texas
So what do these changes in the track guidance mean for East Texas? Right now, it's too early to say whether or not we will see any drastic changes to our forecast. Keep in mind that the higher risk impacts with a tropical cyclone occur to the east of the center or to the right of the storm. We would still be on the backside of the system, which is the drier side and the quadrant where sinking air typically takes place.
If the ECMWF model solution is right, then our forecast remains the same as the one I mentioned in our last blog post. However, if Isaac were a stronger storm and tracked west of New Orleans, then our northeast winds would be higher and we would also have the opportunity to receive some rain with the system as well.
Stay Informed, Stay Connected
Since uncertainty remains rather high at this point, please stay on top of the latest developments. You can track Isaac's progress through our weather app on your smart phone and by going online to our Hurricane Center (see sidebar for direct links). You can also follow KTREweather on Twitter and like us on Facebook for additional updates.