Tropical Storm Isaac, which passed between the Caribbean island nations of Dominica and Martinique late Wednesday and early Thursday, is now moving nearly due west across the eastern Caribbean Sea.
The Met Office issued two "yellow" alerts on Friday as the storm began creeping towards south-western corners of the United Kingdom and the tip of Ireland. It was moving to the west at 16 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour. A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area. On Thursday morning, South 17th Street, usually teeming with commuter traffic by 6:30 a.m., was almost devoid of cars. There are 5.25 million people under hurricane warnings and watches and another 4.89 million under tropical storm watches and warnings.
Tropical storm watches are in effect for Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, and Saba and St. Eustatius.
And the storm is still expected to bring catastrophic winds, rain, storm surges and flooding, the National Hurricane Center briefing said.
Overnight, Isaac began to fall apart as it encountered increasing atmospheric winds that help shred storms and neared dry air.
The storm is about 775 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. When Isaac reaches the west-central Caribbean Sea in a couple of days, the shear may relax somewhat and the global models suggest that there will be an increase in mid-level moisture.
Residents especially those in flood and landslide prone areas are to be vigilant; and small craft operators and sea bathers are advised to exercise caution due to locally rough seas. "There will be some rain but at the moment it doesn't look as though that's going to be the issue". A hurricane hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday.
Forecasters say Isaac is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with isolated amounts near 10 inches across the southern Leeward Islands late this week, with 1 to 2 inches anticipated across portions of the Windward Islands. On Wednesday, officials said some of those shelters were at capacity, but in a statement early Thursday, county officials said they were "able to mobilize additional resources to accommodate the need for shelter space". It should dissipate by early next week, the hurricane center said.