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Could Isaac return to Gulf? Forecasters watching closely

GULF OF MEXICO — A remnant of Hurricane Isaac, drawn back to the Gulf of Mexico after an odyssey through the Midwest, hovered yesterday off the Gulf Coast.

Meteorologist Shawn O’Neill of the National Weather Service in Slidell, La., called it the “spawn of Isaac.”

This morning, the National Weather Service in Jackson reports the broad area of low pressure was not any better organized than it was yesterday, and a reconnaissance mission scheduled for later today may be cancelled.

However, NWS says the system, which is drifting to the south, still has potential for some development during the next day or so. It forecasts a 40 percent chance that the system will develop into a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

If it does develop, O’Neill says it probably would get a new name, but that’s a matter for the hurricane center to decide.

He said the disturbance is likely to move generally south and hang around in the Gulf until Friday or Saturday, when a cold front should shunt it east or northeast.

“That’s the fingers-crossed, hope-the-front-comes down scenario,” O’Neill said.

“All indications are it’s (the front) strong enough to come through and shunt it off, if it develops, toward Florida. But it is September,” he said.

“Until we get a little closer to November there’s always this hesitancy. Obviously we are watching it very closely,” he said.

Isaac came ashore in Louisiana the night of Aug. 28-29, with winds up to 80 mph, heavy rain and storm surges that flooded much of coastal southeast Louisiana and Mississippi. As it moved inland, it brought much-needed rain to the nation’s interior.

Forecasters say that as Isaac lost tropical characteristics over the nation’s heartland, its energy split into two segments. One moved generally east, while the other headed south to emerge over the Gulf.

The remnant had winds estimated at 30 mph today.


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