MIAMI - While it appears the Tampa Bay area won't take a direct hit from what is expected to become Hurricane Isaac, things are still expected to get fairly rough tonight and into Tuesday.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the entire region.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, Tropical Storm Isaac was located about 80 miles southeast of Key West.
The storm is moving to the west-northwest at a fast 18 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.
Isaac is expected to reach hurricane status later today or early Monday morning.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Keys and the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach south to Ocean Reef and Florida Bay.
For the Tampa Bay area, tropical storm force winds are expected to occur starting early Monday morning and continue throughout the day. The biggest impact will be felt along the coastline.
Locally heavy rainfall with frequent lightning and hail is expected along with the possibility of tornadoes. A Tornado Watch is currently in effect for many counties south of the bay area.
Some areas are at risk of heavy flooding. Power outages are possible.
Computer models show the center of Isaac off the coast of Naples around 2 a.m. Monday and well to the west of Tampa Bay around 2 a.m. Tuesday.
The storm is expected to make landfall, possibly as a Category 2 hurricane, along the northern Gulf Coast late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
The cone of uncertainty includes the Florida panhandle.
All gulf coast residents are urged to closely monitor the storm's track.
As preparations continue in Florida, authorities in Haiti were assessing Isaac's aftermath.
The storm left at least two people dead when it struck the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti on Saturday, pounding camps where hundreds of thousands of people live in tents.
The country is still recovering from a devastating earthquake that struck more than two years ago, and its challenges are compounded by the fact it is led by a relatively new government with limited resources. All that said, the top U.N. humanitarian official in the nation praised the initial response efforts.
"So far, I think we're faring reasonably well in our response," Kevin Kennedy said Saturday, referring to the efforts of the Haitian government, U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
Haitian radio reported that the worst damage was in the country's southeast where Isaac made landfall.
In the city of Jacmel, on Haiti's southern coast, the storm damaged houses and knocked out power. As many as 1,500 of the city's residents took refuge in a school serving as a shelter.
Jacmel Mayor Hugues Paul confirmed at least one death on the outskirts of his city, voicing concerns that more deaths will be reported.
A 10-year-old girl also died when a wall fell on her house in Thomazeau, near Port-au-Prince, the country's civil protection agency said.
At the Mega IV camp, where 8,000 Haitians live in makeshift shelters, fallen trees and flooding damaged hundreds of tents. Almost no one evacuated the camp before the storm, and authorities were searching the camp tent by tent for potential victims.
At another camp, Canaan, half the tents were blown away, according to an official statement on the radio.
Haiti's national electricity supplier at one point said that 30 out of the country's 32 electricity grids were down.
After hitting Haiti, Isaac skirted eastern and central Cuba. Cuban officials reported some storm surge and flooding from rain in the far eastern part of the country, and about 200 people were said to be in shelters in the town of Baracoa.
No major damage or injuries were immediately reported in Cuba.
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