Since Saturday's update, not too much has changed. Isabel remains a powerful CAT4 hurricane, and has been slowly tracking WNW. For quite a while, she achieved a large eye and broad symetric eyewall, in a configuration known as an annular hurricane. She's now departing from that stable configuration, and the cloud tops are cooling as asymetries lead to pockets of deeper convection in the eyewall. Although this means slight weakening in the near future, it opens the door for future intensification. SSTs will continue to be plenty warm (~29C), and shear is becoming more noticable, but should decrease again over the next couple days. At 15Z today, Isabel was located at 25.2N 69.4W and tracking WNW at 7kts (this is about 6 degrees due east of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas). Intensity has fallen a bit to 120kts and 945mb. She has already accumulated 7.25 Intense Hurricane Days, and several more are most likely in her future. U.S. landfall is not out of the question, and it appears that NC (Cape Lookout to Cape Hatteras area) will receive the initial hit, then she is forecast to track inland over eastern VA and central PA. Conditions could be favorable enough for Isabel to hit eastern NC as a major hurricane on Thursday morning. All coastal residents should be monitoring this storm very closely. Inland flooding is always a huge concern with landfalling hurricanes, and with central PA lying right along the forecast track, the flooding situation already in place in eastern PA could be severely aggravated toward the end of the week.
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