Forecast track for Hurricane Isaias shifts slightly closer to S.C. coast

By Patrick Phillips | July 31, 2020 at 11:27 AM EDT - Updated July 31 at 1:09 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The latest update for Hurricane Isaias’ forecast track shifted it slightly more toward the southeastern U.S. coast.

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But it also slows the estimated time when the first hurricane of the season will approach South Carolina from Sunday night to later Monday morning.

The update also showed the maximum sustained winds of the storm had dropped from 80 mph to 75 mph, just 4 mph above the threshold at which a tropical storm becomes a Category 1 hurricane.

The models show the storm strengthening before it approaches the Bahamas Saturday morning with winds reaching as high as 90 mph. But it estimates wind speeds will be back to approximately 75 mph by Monday morning when it will be off the Lowcountry coast.

The National Weather Service says there will be a high risk for rip currents for Georgia and South Carolina beaches on Saturday. An elevated rip current risk will likely remain into early next week as Hurricane Isaias passes by.

11 a.m. update

At 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Isaias was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and Bahamas radar near latitude 21.7 North, longitude 74.5 West.

Isaias is moving toward the northwest near 16 mph, and a general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the day or so followed by a turn toward the north-northwest. On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will continue to move near or over the Southeastern Bahamas Friday.

Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas Friday night, and move near or over the Northwestern Bahamas Saturday and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

Data from the reconnaissance aircraft indicates that maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is possible Friday and Friday night, and Isaias is expected to remain a hurricane for the next few days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles.

Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the minimum central pressure is 992 mb (29.30 inches).

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