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Tropics are Active; We Remain Dry

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Although we are completely landlocked in the upper Midwest, we at KDLT have been keeping our eyes on Tropical Storm Isaac for several days. Obviously, there is no concern of Isaac making its way to South Dakota, but since all weather features are connected; it is still something for us to keep an eye on.

Ever since Isaac earned its name as a tropical storm this past Tuesday evening, forecast models have gradually been trending Isaac’s track farther west. At 11 P.M. Sunday evening, Isaac was still a strong tropical storm located just west of Key West, Florida. Its maximum sustained winds were measured at 65 miles per hour, only 10 miles per hour short of hurricane status. As Isaac moves north and west into the warmer, open waters of the Gulf of Mexico; it won’t take much for the storm to rapidly intensify into a hurricane.

Right now, the only thing holding it back is a large area of dry air seen in the water vapor image below. Although it isn’t positioned in the storm’s path; this dry air will be drawn into the storm’s circulation. When dry air interferes with a tropical system, some of the moisture that fuels the system is evaporated. Although it will have little effect on the storm’s actual path, it may be the difference between a major hurricane and a weaker one.

The current forecast track has Isaac making landfall somewhere along the Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama coastlines late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Ironically, this would have Isaac making landfall exactly seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Fortunately, this storm is not forecast to come close to the intensity of Katrina. However, as some of these areas are still recovering from that terrible disaster seven years ago; we will be thinking of them as Isaac approaches the Gulf Coast.

As for us in South Dakota, any effects of Isaac will likely go unnoticed. Other than a couple of slight chances of rain, this week looks dry. On top of that, 90s and even 100s are forecast to make a comeback before cooling down again later in the week.

Be sure to stay tuned to KDLT and KDLT.com this week as we continue to monitor the tropics, and our own forecast right here at home.
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