Hurricane warnings issued for Dominican Republic, Haiti
A hurricane warning has been issued for southern portions of The Dominican Republic and for all of Haiti as Tropical Storm Isaac's path has shifted west slightly.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the center of Isaac was located about 1,590 southeast of Tampa, where thousands will gather next week for the Republican National Convention. Isaac is moving toward the west near 22 mph (35 kmh) and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
The center of the storm should move through the Leeward Islands during the next few hours, pass near or south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday before approaching The Dominican Republic on Thursday night and into Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 kmh) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Isaac could become a hurricane by late Thursday or early Friday. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) mainly to the north of the center.
All Isaac needs to do is come close to Tampa to bring a lot of problems for the GOP. That's because even an average summer thunderstorm in this area can flood major roads.
When a tropical storm raked the Tampa Bay area a couple of months ago, thousands of homes and businesses lost power, tornadoes spun off and streets and bridges were closed.
It's still too early to say where Isaac will end up, but officials are closely watching the storm. They say they're ready to make any decisions about evacuations or cancellations as 70,000 delegates, journalists and protesters descend on the city.
The current forecast has Isaac heading toward South Florida on Monday, the opening day of the convention.