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Tropical Storm Isaac was a short-lived tropical cyclone that formed in late September during the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season. Developing from a tropical wave to the east of the southern Lesser Antilles on September 28, Isaac moved generally westward throughout its duration, and briefly reached peak winds of 45 mph (75 km/h). Unfavorable wind shear subsequently impacted the storm, and Isaac dissipated on October 1 as it approached the Lesser Antilles. The remnants produced heavy rainfall in Trinidad and Tobago, killing two people and injuring 20. Proceeding westward, the remnants eventually emerged into the eastern Pacific Ocean, where they redeveloped into a short-lived tropical depression.

Meteorological history

The origins of Tropical Storm Isaac were from a tropical wave.[1] It originated as a weak tropical disturbance near the west African coast on September 23, quickly merging with the Intertropical Convergence Zone as it tracked westward. Initially, the system was indistinct in satellite imagery; however, a concentrated area of convection, or thunderstorms, organized and became notable in the tropical Atlantic Ocean on September 27. Based on satellite data, the National Hurricane Center classified the system as Tropical Depression Sixteen late on September 28, while located about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) east-southeast of Barbados.[2]

Upon forming, the tropical depression tracked generally westward toward the southern Lesser Antilles, though a west-northwest shift subsequently occurred, possibly due to the reformation of its center. Increasing wind shear began to affect the cyclone on September 29, which exposed the center of circulation to the west of its corresponding convection. Despite this disorganized structure, a Hurricane Hunters mission into the depression on September 30 reported flight-level winds of 59 mph (95 km/h). Based on this, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Isaac about 230 miles (370 km) east-southeast of Barbados.[2]

The maximum sustained winds of Isaac weakened to 45 mph (75 km/h) early on October 1. Its weakening became evident as it passed 70 miles (120 km) south of Barbados, and it was downgraded to a tropical depression at 1200 UTC on October 1. A few hours later, Isaac degenerated into a tropical wave as it approached the island of Grenada.[2] The remnants of Isaac continued westward through the Caribbean, crossing Central America and emerging into the eastern Pacific Ocean. On October 11, the remnants developed into Tropical Depression Twenty-E, about 400 miles (645 km) south of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. Initially the depression was thought to be near tropical storm status.[3] However, it encountered strong wind shear,[4] and the depression dissipated on October 12 without any further development.[5]


When Isaac attained tropical storm status late on September 30, the respective governments of Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Dominica, and Martinique issued tropical storm warnings for each of the islands. The next day, a tropical storm watch was issued for the countries of Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago.[2] The warnings and watches were all discontinued following the weakening of Isaac, although the National Hurricane Center advised small boats to continue taking all necessary precautions.[6]

As a tropical cyclone, Isaac did not significantly affect land.[7] However, the remnants dropped heavy rainfall across Trinidad and Tobago, causing flooding and mudslides that injured 20 people[8] and left at least 30 homeless.[9] Flash flooding in Morvant killed two people.[8] Across the country, the storm left damage to roads and bridges,[10] although no damage total was made available.[8]


  1. Template:Cite journal
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Miles B. Lawrence (1988-10-30). "Tropical Storm Isaac Preliminary Report (Page 1)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  3. Hal Gerrish (1988). "Tropical Depression Twenty-E Discussion One" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. Gross (1988-10-11). "Tropical Depression Twenty-E Discussion Two" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  5. Clark (1988). "Tropical Depression Twenty-E Discussion Seven". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. A.J. Dickerson (1988-10-01). "Isaac's Winds Clipped, Downgraded to Depression". Associated Press. 
  7. Miles B. Lawrence (1988-10-30). "Tropical Storm Isaac Preliminary Report (Page 2)" (GIF). National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Lindsay Mackoon (1988-10-02). "Storm wreaks havoc on Trinidad". United Press International. 
  9. Staff Writer (1988-10-04). "2 die as storm lashes islands". Saint Petersburg Times. 
  10. World Loss Report (1988-10-21). "Occurrence and reports: Natural Catastrophe".