CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Tropical Storm Isaias is nearing southeastern Bahamas late Thursday night, and is forecast to become a hurricane during the weekend as it approaches the eastern coast of the United States.
The late Thursday update sees Isaias continuing to show better organization and will likely become a hurricane once it moves away from Hispaniola.
Isaias is currently about 95 miles east-southeast of Great Inagua Island as it moves northwest at 18 miles per hour with maximum sustained wind gusts of 60 miles per hour.
“Isaias is still interacting with the island of Hispaniola, we are still seeing a little bit of that interaction,” said Live 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh late Thursday night. “But once the storm gets away from that influence we’re going to see it strengthen up just a little bit.”
The latest tracking models show the system may strengthen to a category one hurricane Saturday morning as it stays off the Florida coast and over warm gulf stream waters. Winds from the southwest are expected to keep Isaias from strengthening any further and turn the storm away from the coast.
The tracking model for the system has been consistent for the last couple of days. Walsh said the current tracks shows the system recurving east of the South Carolina coast.
According to the current data, by late Sunday night into early Monday morning, Isaias is expected to be about 75 miles to the east of Charleston.
“It should be noted that tropical storm force winds go out about 230 miles from the center so we’ll have to keep an eye on that certainly,” Walsh said. “Then it will pull away to the north and east.”
Meteorologists say there is a more likely the chance the Lowcountry could see some impacts which include high surf, rip currents, rain, coastal flooding and possible tropical storm force winds mostly along the coast.
Officials with the National Hurricane Center said there is a risk of impacts from winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge this weekend along the Florida east coast and may spread northward along the remainder of the U.S. east coast through early next week.
However, meteorologists reiterated that the details of the track and the intensity of the system remain uncertain as it is too soon to determine the magnitude and location of these potential impacts.
“But interests along the entire east coast should monitor the progress of Isaias and updates to the forecast,” NHC officials said.
Hurricane conditions are expected for portions of the central and northwest Bahamas late Friday and Saturday, with tropical storm conditions spreading across portions of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the southeast Bahamas through Friday.
According to meteorologists, tropical storm conditions are possible along Florida’s east coast beginning Saturday.
Heavy rains associated with the system may begin to affect eastern Florida this weekend, with potential flash flooding.
The current forecast tracks shows the center of Isaias will move near the Southeastern Bahamas by late tonight. Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas Friday night and move near or over the Northwest Bahamas and near South Florida on Saturday.
Showers and thunderstorms associated with a small area of low pressure, located a few hundred miles south-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands have increased and become better organized during the day.
Environmental conditions appear conducive for further development, and this system could become a tropical depression during the next day or so while it drifts generally north-northwestward.
After that time, environmental conditions are forecast to become less favorable for development.
Computer models give the system a 50 percent chance of developing over the next two to five days.
If it were to become a tropical storm, the next name on the 2020 list is Josephine.