Tropical Storm Isaac lashes South Florida, heads for Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Isaac pummeled southwest Florida and the Keys with rain and wind as it headed toward the Gulf Coast, where it could hit land as a Category 2 hurricane by Tuesday.

“Folks along the northern Gulf Coast need to be taking this storm seriously,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said Sunday.

Residents of coastal Alabama, Mississippi, the Florida Panhandle and parts of Louisiana were advised to begin gathering supplies and preparing for the storm while the weather is still calm. A hurricane warning could come in the next several hours, Feltgen said.

In South Florida and the Keys, residents were lashed Sunday by bands of heavy rain and high winds as the center of the storm made its way toward them. Residents were also warned of the possibility of small, short-lived tornadoes.

In Tampa, where the first day of the Republican National Convention was postponed until Tuesday because of the storm, heavy rain and winds were expected late Sunday through Monday. The area did not appear in direct danger of a hurricane but will be affected by the storm.

“It’s not going to be a good day in the Tampa Bay area weather-wise tomorrow at all,” Feltgen said. He added: “It could have been far worse if the center of Isaac had moved closer to them.”


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