NWS: Storm surge possible as Isaac passes by

3:14 PM, Aug 25, 2012   |    comments
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RUSKIN, Florida -- Meteorologists with the National Weather Service of Tampa Bay are keeping a close eye on Isaac as the system continues to develop.

Tropical Storm watches have been issued for most counties in the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Highlands, and DeSoto counties.

"Even though we might not take a direct hit, we will certainly feel impacts of Isaac," warned Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Tampa Bay.

He advised, "If they haven't already done so, dust off those hurricane plans and start putting those into action."

Davis says the Tampa Bay area may recieve up to 4-6 inches of rain as Isaac passes by, with up to 8-10 inches in isolated areas.

He says flooding is a very likely possibility in some areas.

"The ground is very saturated from the summer rains and Tropical Storm Debby that we had six weeks ago, and any additional rainfall from Isaac will exacerbate those flooding problems," he said.

Davis pointed out that two area rivers are at flood stage: Cypress Creek at Worthington Creek and Little Manatee River at Wimauma. The Alafia River at Wimauma and Myakka River at Myakka River State Park are also reaching flood stage.

Davis says it's also possible the area will experience storm surge associated with the storm.

"When it's south of us, we'll have a northeast off shore wind blowing water out of Tampa Bay, so we'll actually have a negative storm surge of possibly 2-4 feet and then, as the storm moves by us and moves north of us, the winds will shift from the southwest and will push that water, pile that water back up Tampa Bay to where we could have a 2-4 foot positive storm surge," Davis explained.

We asked which areas he thinks may be most impacted by the potential surge. "The typical areas that see those, Bayshore is particularly vulnerable, the causeways, very similar to what we saw with Debby six weeks ago," he answered.

Forecasts could change as Isaac moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

Overall, Davis and 10 News meteorologists are urging everyone, even visitors, to be prepared.

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