Members of the International Organization for Migration register displaced people who will be taking shelter at a school before the arrival of tropical Storm Isaac in Port au Prince August 24, 2012. Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened on Friday as its lashing rains took aim at flood-prone Haiti, but it was not expected to become a hurricane until it barreled into the Gulf of Mexico early next week. (Photo : Reuters)
Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to move through eastern Cuba on Saturday as it makes its way towards the Florida Keys, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday morning.
The Miami-based center issued a hurricane warning for the Florida Keys, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward and Florida Bay. A hurricane watch was also put in effect over Haiti, the east coast of Florida from Golden Beach southward and Andros Island in the Bahamas.
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Traveling northwest at 17 mph, Isaac is about 40 miles east of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The storm has maintained maximum sustained winds of 60 mph but is expected to strengthen after moving over eastern Cuba later today, the center said.
According to the center, the storm is anticipated to reach southwest Florida and the Florida Keys by Sunday with hurricane conditions.
It is expected to drop between 4 to 8 inches of rain, with maximum rainfall of 12 inches, over Jamaica, parts of Cuba, the Florida Keys and southern Florida. The center warned that storm surge could mean up to 7 ft of flooding in the southwest Florida coast and up to 3 ft in the southeast Florida coast and the Florida Keys.
Isaac cast heavy rains and high winds on the southern coast of Haiti and in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Reuters reported. The impoverish country, which suffered a massive earthquake in 2010, has hundreds of thousands living in tents or makeshift shelters.
Reuters reported the Haitian government and humanitarian aid groups scrambled to find shelter for those living in the tent camps on Friday and Saturday. Many, however, chose to remain in fears of getting robbed.
Feared flooding and mudslides in Haiti could also reignite a cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 7,500 people since October 2010, Reuters said.
In Florida's Gulf Coast, Republican National Convention organizers continued to prepare for its Monday start despite warnings of coastal flooding and intense winds. The convention, which is being held in Tampa, will officially nominate Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate.
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