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(8:45 a.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Isaac, the ninth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season, is on track to pass over the Dominican Republic and Haiti early Friday after passing to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today. Though the storm weakened slightly overnight, it is expected to gain strength and could still develop into a hurricane before it reaches Hispaniola.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 8 a.m outlook, maximum sustained wind speeds have decreased slightly to 40 miles per hour. So far, the storm has forced two itinerary changes -- to Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas and Carnival Valor -- but more changes are possible as Isaac approaches Haiti and the Bahamas.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
Allure of the Seas, which departed from Port Everglades on Sunday, is sailing a Western Caribbean itinerary (Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel) instead of an Eastern Caribbean itinerary (Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten).
Carnival Valor has announced that it will replace its scheduled call in Curaçao today with a sea day. Valor is headed for the Bahamas and will call in at Nassau on Saturday. Though there are other ships in the region, no further itinerary changes have been announced at this time.
Carnival Liberty replaced its scheduled call in Grand Turk today with a sea day. Liberty is headed for the Bahamas and will call in at Nassau on Friday.
Weather Outlook: Possible Affected Ships and Ports
The latest projections from the National Hurricane Center show the storm passing south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday before crashing into the Dominican Republic on Friday. Current forecasts indicate the storm will then pass over Haiti, Cuba and skirt the Bahamas, before hitting Florida on Monday. Tropical storm warnings have been raised along much of Puerto Rico's coast as well as in the Virgin Islands; and a hurricane warning has been issued for the southern coast of Dominican Republic and all of Haiti. Other islands in the region, including the southeastern isles in the Bahamas chain, have put a tropical storm watch in place.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor
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