Tropical Storm Isaac getting better organized; new depression forms behind Isaac

Southwest Florida is in the five-day forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac, expected to strengthen and become a hurricane by Thursday.

NOAA

Southwest Florida is in the five-day forecast for Tropical Storm Isaac, expected to strengthen and become a hurricane by Thursday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane by Thursday. The system to the left is the wind probability map for Tropical Depression 10.

NOAA

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane by Thursday. The system to the left is the wind probability map for Tropical Depression 10.

In line behind Tropical Storm Isaac is Tropical Depression 10 in the eastern Atlantic.

NOAA

In line behind Tropical Storm Isaac is Tropical Depression 10 in the eastern Atlantic.

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Isaac, which is getting better organized as it approaches the Caribbean and Florida, now has company. A new tropical depression has formed in the Atlantic.

Isaac's maximum sustained winds Wednesday afternoon are near 45 mph, and tropical storm winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center, which should move through the Leeward Islands during the next several hours. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane by Thursday or Thursday night.

In line behind Isaac is another system in the eastern Atlantic that became a tropical depression Wednesday afternoon.

Satellite imagery shows Tropical Depression 10 about 725 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. If it intensifies and becomes a named storm, the system would be Tropical Storm Joyce.

As Isaac moves west, tropical storm warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and a swath of islands across the Caribbean including Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Culebra and Vieques.

Isaac is centered about 280 miles east of Guadeloupe and is moving west near 21 mph. The storm's center is expected to move over the Leeward Islands on Wednesday evening, pass near or south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday and approach the Dominican Republic Thursday night and Friday.

Florida's top emergency management official says that Isaac is likely to impact the state in some way, but state Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon said Wednesday that it's too early to tell exactly the intensity or the path the storm will take.

Koon added there is no reason that out-of-state visitors should cancel their plans to come to the Republican National Convention scheduled to start next week in Tampa.

Koon said that he has been in constant contact with RNC officials about the potential storm threat. He also said there may be no need for evacuation in downtown Tampa even if a Category 1 hurricane was approaching.

Much of the area around the convention site is low-lying and near the water.

Although Isaac is still far from Florida’s shores, Gov. Rick Scott said the state is closely tracking the potential for the storm to impact part or all of the state, including the Tampa Bay region during the convention.

“As Florida’s governor, I’m urging everyone across the state to monitor the storm track, and use the next several days to prepare for a potential storm. As we know, storms this far from land are still unpredictable and everyone should be vigilant and prepared.”

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