At 09Z today, intensity was dropped to 130kts, or just below the CAT5 threshold. This could have been caused by Fabian's cool wake and/or by another eyewall replacement cycle. However, all imagery now shows a trend toward becoming more intense and symetric. At this strength, oscillations in intensity are very typical, and wind fluctuations of ±15kts will continue to happen. As of 15Z, Isabel was located at 22.2N 61.5W and tracking W at 9kts. Maximum sustained winds are 130kts with a MSLP of 935mb. Another aircraft is in the storm as I type this, and will give in-situ obs for the 21Z advisory. She is forecast to remain an intense hurricane at least for another 5 days as she approaches the US east coast. The question will be... where along the coast will she hit, or will she recurve just shy of it? The date of a potential landfall looks be approx next Friday (9/19), but that's still 6 days out and models are not all that reliable so far out.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.