Isaac's center of circulation is just West of the Florida Keys. Maximum sustained winds are still 60 mph, but he is becoming much better organized.
Imagery Showing Isaac Getting His Act Together.
The latest visible imagery shows a much more defined center of circulation, and an eye trying to form. Water vapor imagery compliments this with an increase in water vapor right around where the eye wall is trying to develop, showing increasing convection where we expect it. As Isaac moves away from land and into the warm Gulf of Mexico (water temperature at Dauphin Island is currently about 85), he should strengthen rapidly.
Isaac has started moving more West North-Westerly instead of Northwesterly, and the National Hurricane Center has moved his track Westward accordingly. The official track earlier today brought him at Biloxi/Gulfport, and now it is bringing Isaac on land at the Mississippi/Louisiana Coastline. Hurricane Warnings have gone up for the Gulf Coast East of Morgan City, LA to Destin, FL, obviously including all of the Alabama and Mississippi coastline. The models are still in good agreement about a Mississippi/Louisiana landfall, but a few of them are trending even more to the West, with a West Louisiana/East Texas landfall. That said, I still think a LA/MS landfall is currently the most plausible.
Isaac hasn't strengthened over the past day because he has been dealing with land interaction. As his center starts getting back over open water tonight and tomorrow, he should become a Hurricane by tomorrow afternoon/evening. The idea is still that he should be a solid Category 2 at landfall, but as we have been saying, and some models support, there is a chance that he could get up to a Cat 3. The official NHC track has slowed down his landfall time from Wednesday morning to Wednesday afternoon, and if this holds true, then he will spend more time over warm water before hitting the coast. It's still too early to tell just how strong he will be at impact, but a Category 2 to Category 3 is definitely possible.
What Should I Do?
While where Isaac makes landfall will determine just how bad our weather gets this week, we all need to be making preparations. Make sure you have gas, water, food, medications, etc. This is a large storm, and tornadoes, gusty winds, and flooding can be an issue far away from the center of circulation (especially on the Eastern side). There is no reason to panic, but you should start reviewing your plan now.
More Updates To Come
We'll have more updates on the web and TV as we get them.