Updated: Metro New Orleans now in Hurricane Watch area

The National Hurricane Center extended the Hurricane Watch farther to the west and now includes Metropolitan New Orleans.

Here is the 10a.m. Central discussion from the National Hurricane Center:

Visible satellite and imagery suggest that the tropical cyclone is

gradually becoming better organized. There are indications of

inner core development with increased convection near and over the

center...and a partial eyewall is in evidence on radar imagery. The

banding features have become more distinct over the northern and

eastern semicircles of the circulation. The current intensity

estimate is held at 55 kt pending observations from an Air Force

hurricane hunter aircraft that should be in the center shortly.

Isaac continues to exhibit a well-defined upper-level outflow

pattern...and gradual strengthening is likely as the cyclone

traverses the eastern Gulf of Mexico over the next couple of days.

The official wind speed forecast is similar to the previous NHC

forecast and is also close to the latest statistical-dynamical


The track forecast beyond day 2 has become problematic. Dynamical

models depict the cyclone moving into a break in the subtropical

ridge north of the Gulf Coast in about 72 hours. However there is

a large spread among the more reliable track models. For example...

the ECMWF forecast is about 300 N mi east of the GFS solution at day

 Since the dynamical model consensus has shifted westward...the

official track forecast is moved a bit to the west of the previous

one. This requires an extension of the Hurricane Watch westward

along the Louisiana coast. It should be noted that there is

greater than usual uncertainty in the track forecast.

Throughout the period...it is important not to focus on the exact

forecast track since significant hazards extend well away from the