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Tropical Storm Isaac to Hit Haiti Overnight, Cuba, Then on to U.S.

Projected path for Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac

Tropical Storm Isaac built up strength Friday as it headed towards landfall in Haiti overnight, while a tropical storm watch was issued for the Florida Keys and other parts of southern Florida.

With sustained winds now at 65 mph, up from 50 mph Friday morning, Isaac could pass near Florida’s Gulf Coast early Monday just as the Republican National Convention is scheduled to start in Tampa.

Winds at tropical storm strength extend 185 miles out from Isaac’s center, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an afternoon advisory,making it a very wide storm.

On exiting Haiti, Isaac’s center should cross Cuba on Saturday, and then pass south of the Florida Keys before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane overnight Tuesday somewhere between New Orleans and Tallahassee, NBC meteorologist Al Roker said Friday on TODAY. Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico will be “energy for the storm” as it makes its way across the gulf, he added.

South Florida could see a few twisters and heavy rain — some 5-10 inches Sunday and into Monday, experts said in an online chat with readers Friday.

Florida has not been hit by a major hurricane since 2005 and officials are concerned that residents there have become complacent.

“I think it’s a challenge of getting people to understand their risk and make sure they’ve got a plan,” said Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

With more than 19 million people living across the Sunshine State, Fugate wants every Florida resident to have enough supplies to last 72 hours and to know when to evacuate.

“I think the most dangerous thing is when people keep waiting to see what the next forecast is even if they’re in an evacuation zone. They say, ‘Oh, it’s just a Category 1 storm or a minimum hurricane.’ We’ve seen significant impacts from tropical storm force winds and rain,” Fugate added.

Read more: NBC News

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