(ACCUWEATHER) — Hurricane Isaac will churn westward and bring strong winds and heavy rain to the Lesser Antilles during the second half of the week.
Isaac, the fifth hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season, is located roughly 1,300 miles east of the Lesser Antilles as of early Monday morning.
Isaac will continue on a westward path toward the islands into midweek.
The hurricane is rather compact in size and this may make it susceptible to fluctuations in strength in the coming days.
AccuWeather meteorologists cannot rule out the possibility that it could reach Category 2 strength early this week.
However, the storm is expected to encounter increased wind shear later this week.
Wind shear, or the change in wind direction and/or speed with altitude, can rip apart any tropical system, but especially small systems such as Isaac.
Exactly how much wind shear Isaac encounters will determine whether it retains hurricane strength or is a strong tropical storm as it passes through the Lesser Antilles.
Regardless of strength, indirect impacts in the form of rough surf and increased rip currents will arrive on the east-facing beaches of the Windward and Leeward islands by Wednesday.
Small craft may need to remain in port as seas become dangerous. It is not out of the question for cruise lines to change their itineraries to avoid the worst of Isaac.
Heavy rain and wind will increase from late Wednesday to Thursday as Isaac sweeps through the islands.
Latest indications point toward the storm tracking between the islands of St. Lucia and Antigua.
Many of these islands are still rebuilding follow Hurricane Maria, which crossed the Lesser Antilles and moved over Puerto Rico almost a year ago.
Even with the storm’s brisk movement, rainfall can be heavy enough to trigger localized flooding. Tree and power line damage will also be possible, especially if Isaac remains a hurricane.
“All interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of this system closely,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.
Make sure to have an emergency preparedness plan in place if you do not already have one.
Interests elsewhere across the Caribbean, including the countries of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, will want to keep close tabs on Isaac’s track beyond the Lesser Antilles.
Meanwhile, Helene will move away from Cabo Verde Islands into the open waters of the central Atlantic through the week, posing no direct threat to land.
Florence will take aim at the Southeast coast of the United States late this week, possibly as a major hurricane.