(National Hurricane Center)

Isaias Forecast to Become a Hurricane as Storm Heads Toward the Florida Coast

Tropical Storm Isaias lashed the Dominican Republic with heavy rain and high winds today and is expected to become a hurricane Friday as it embarks on a path forecast to hug the East Coast.

The government of the Bahamas has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the northwest Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef northward to Sebastian Inlet.

The Tropical Storm Warnings for the central and northwest Bahamas may be upgraded to Hurricane Warnings this evening or tonight. Interests elsewhere along the southeast coast of the United States should monitor the progress of this system. Additional watches or warnings may be required for a portion of the Florida peninsula tonight or Friday.

At 5 p.m. EST, the center of Tropical Storm Isaias was located near latitude 19.5 North, longitude 70.6 West. Isaias is moving toward the northwest near 20 mph (31 km/h) and a northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. On the forecast track, 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.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, and Isaias is forecast to become a hurricane on Friday or Friday night.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles (390 km) from the center.

Read more at the National Hurricane Center

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