‘Isaac’ drops rain on Puerto Rico, sparks outages

Power outages are being reported across Puerto Rico as Tropical Depression Isaac drops rain across the U.S. territory.

Forecasters on Friday warned of flash flooding and wind gusts of 25 to 40 mph. The tropical storm remnants are passing south of the island and moving west across the Caribbean region.

The National Hurricane Center said up to 3 inches of rain could fall in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

Puerto Rico is still trying to recover from Hurricane Maria nearly a year after the Category 4 storm hit. The island’s power grid remains fragile, and nearly 60,000 homes still have makeshift roofs not capable of withstanding a Category 1 storm.

Isaac caused some flooding earlier in Dominica and is forecast to gradually weaken over the next few days.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
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At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located near latitude 15.3 North, longitude 68.2 West. Isaac is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion with some decrease in forward speed is anticipated over the next couple of days with a turn to the west-northwest possible by late Sunday. On the forecast track, Isaac will move over the eastern and central Caribbean Sea during the next few days, and be near or south of Jamaica early next week.

NOAA Hurricane Hunter data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 36 hours. Isaac is forecast to become a tropical depression on Sunday and degenerate into a wave on Monday. However this is an uncertain prediction.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure from dropsonde data is 1002 mb (29.59 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
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RAINFALL: Isaac is expected to produce additional rainfall of 2 to 3 inches with isolated maximum totals of up to 5 inches across southeast Puerto Rico. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches with maximum amounts of 3 inches are possible across the remainder of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Leeward Islands and the northern Windward Islands. Rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 4 inches are possible across the south-central portion of the Dominican Republic, southwest Haiti and most of Jamaica except for the eastern portion of Jamaica where rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches and maximum amounts of 6 inches are possible. This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods.

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