13 September 2003

Isabel drops to CAT4, but possibly reintensifying...

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.

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