National Hurricane Center infrared
satellite image of Hurricane Isabel
Though currently well east-northeast of Puerto Rico, Hurricane Isabel—the strongest of the Atlantic season so far—appears headed for the southeastern United States. With 160-mph winds, Isabel is classified as a Category 5 hurricane. That's the highest storm ranking, and the same ranking given to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Pilots should be aware of the storm's progress and make plans to relocate aircraft and alter schedules should forecasters predict its approach and landfall. Typically, Atlantic hurricanes "re-curve"—turn eastward—as they progress westward. But hurricanes, by definition, are unpredictable, and their tracks can change suddenly.
Current weather and aviation forecasts are available to AOPA members on AOPA Online (click the "Weather" button on the left side of your screen). To watch Isabel's progress, go to the National Hurricane Center's Web site, and click on "maps and charts."