Tropical storm Fay is finally beginning to get its act together tonight, with convection firing across the storm, and a coherent circulation persisting on Cuban radar. The National Hurricane Center currently has Fay's intensity at 45 mph with a central pressure of 1005 mb. Guantanamo Bay actually reported sustained winds of 45 mph gusting to 50 mph, and they're well away from the center. Due to this, when reconnaissance reaches the storm in a few hours I would not be surprised if it was stronger. Fay is expected to strengthen over the next 18-24 hours as it traverses the extremely warm waters south of Cuba, and the amount of intensification will depend on land interaction. It now appears that Fay will mostly miss southern Cuba, which was one of the uncertainties discussed earlier, and this will give Fay more of an opportunity to strengthen. After Fay makes landfall in Cuba late tomorrow, it will cross Cuba in 6-12 hours and slightly weaken. Fay will then have 12 hours to strengthen over the warm waters of the Florida Straits before reaching the Keys. It is very uncertain where Fay will go after impacting the Keys. Anywhere from southeast Florida to the panhandle of Florida may get a direct hit from Fay, as reflected by the National Hurricane Center's forecast cone. Tropical storm warnings are currently in effect for southern Cuba, Cayman Brac, and little Cayman, with hurricane watches in Central Cuba, and tropical storm watches in the Central Bahamas, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. It is possible that watches of some form will be issued for parts of the Florida Keys and South Florida tomorrow morning. In fact, the outer rainbands of Fay are showing up on the Miami and Key West radar, and may start to impact parts of Florida tomorrow.
As for some obs, it's awful calm out there tonight. The calm before the storm, perhaps. Also, it seems like the stores are starting to get raided by people looking for supplies. We've definitely begun preparations at my house. I will check if the turtles are hissing tomorrow :D
Finally, it sounds like the Keys and mainland South Florida may get watches of some form tomorrow morning. At that point, I'll raise the threat level to high ;)