Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT

Well, it’s that time of year. The tropics are cranking up. We’ve already witnessed a whopping eight named systems so far. A ninth could be on the way very soon – Isaias, churning in the Main Development Region of the Atlantic. If Isaias forms (prior to August 7) it would be a record for the quickest time to get the I-name in history for the Atlantic Basin.

Utilities from the gulf coast to Florida and up the eastern seaboard should monitor how this one progresses. Right now, it’s just “Invest 92-L” – meaning the national hurricane center is investigating the wave for likely tropical development in the next 72 to 120 hours.

Yours truly is an amateur weather nerd, as you probably know by now, so I like to dive deep into the computer models to get an idea of how things have been trending with its potential strength and path. The respected European Ensembles set does not have high expectations for what should be Isaias later this week. The “EPS” indeed keeps it a small storm. The American GFS Ensemble set is more bullish – growing the wave into a hurricane by the weekend. Other models are mixed, but generally favor development.

What about the path? There is agreement there – west/northwest through the end of the week, but then all bets are off, and much will depend on the strength. A weaker storm likely ventures further west while a stronger tropical storm or hurricane may get pulled northward.

How about timing? Utilities in Florida could be at risk come this weekend and early next week. The gulf coast and Carolinas would be a day or two later. So there’s much uncertainty on how soon affects would be felt, too.

Risk managers should monitor developments and plan for potential impacts – it is hurricane season after all! We don’t have to think back too far to recall Hurricanes Michael, Florence or even strong tropical storms that had significant impacts. Be safe, everyone!

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Map used with permission from WeatherModels.com