All eyes are on Tropical Storm Isaac today as it heads toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where about 350,000 people are still living in tents after an earthquake that took more than a quarter million lives more than two years ago.
From the Republican National Convention set to begin in Tampa Monday to farmers in the drought-ravaged Midwest praying for rain, the United States is using technology that might have spared lives when Hurricane Andrew struck 20 years ago to see where Isaac will strike next.
Isaac was forecast to remain a tropical storm after crossing the Dominican Republic and Haiti and then passing over Cuba into the Florida Straits, according to a Reuters report.
Many forecast models show it eventually advancing into the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening into a hurricane and possibly making landfall Tuesday near Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Louisiana or Mississippi.
"Isaac will likely restrengthen when it moves over the Florida Straits and the eastern Gulf of Mexico," the U.S. National Hurricane Center told the news service.
But the center warned that it was "important not to focus on the exact track because of forecast uncertainties and the fact that Isaac has a large area of tropical storm force winds."
It said Isaac was centered about 165 miles south of the Dominican Republic's capital, Santo Domingo, and about 230 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, as of this morning.
"Poorly organized Isaac jogs westward," the hurricane center said in its latest advisory, putting its speed at 15 mph and forecasting a turn toward the west-northwest later in the day.
The storm had top sustained winds of 45 mph, but the Miami-based hurricane center said Isaac could swell into a hurricane later on Friday as it nears Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but weaken as it moves over land.
In Haiti, Isaac was threatening thousands of people still living in tents after a devastating earthquake more than two years ago, according to a Reuters report.
Authorities have not ruled out postponing or moving the GOP convention if the storm takes direct aim at Tampa.