MIAMI (AP) _ Forecasters are now predicting that Isaac will become a Category 1 hurricane as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico instead of a Category 2.
National Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that Isaac won’t be as strong as they initially thought when it hits land somewhere along the north Gulf Coast.
But Knabb urged residents not to focus their preparations the storm’s current strength because such storms often do not stick to forecasters’ predictions.
Already, the storm has brought wind and rain to parts of Florida and caused Republicans to cancel Monday’s opening session of their national convention in Tampa.
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) _ Gov. Rick Scott is urging Florida’s Republican National Convention delegates to stay put and not venture into Tampa nearly 30 miles away because of wind and rain from Tropical Storm Isaac.
Scott updated the delegates on the storm Monday, saying that it did little damage in the Florida Keys, but that everyone in the Tampa Bay area should stay home.
He added that he knows people are frustrated that the first day of the convention was postponed by the weather, but that the convention organizers made the right decision.
A major concern was buses driving in heavy winds.
Scott also said he will not participate in convention events Monday and Tuesday because the storm still poses a threat to Pensacola, even if it doesn’t get a direct hit.
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) _ Isaac could pack a watery double punch for the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service warns if it hits during high tide, Isaac could push floodwaters as deep as 12 feet onto shore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and up to 6 feet in the Florida Panhandle.
Isaac could dump up to 18 inches of rain over the region.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, and 53,000 residents of St. Charles Parish near New Orleans were told to leave ahead of the storm.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley also have declared states of emergency.