WORLD NEWS – USA Tropical Storm Isaac was expected to be at or near hurricane strength when it reaches the Florida Keys Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

As of 2 a.m., Isaac had maximum sustained winds near 60 mph as it moved northwest at 17 mph about 265 miles east-southeast of Key West and 35 miles northeast of Canagua, Cuba.

Isaac was expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours and the latest NHC track showed it as a Category 1 hurricane as it approached the Keys around 8 p.m. Sunday.

What’s Open, What’s Closed Ahead of Isaac

The center of Isaac was expected to continue moving between the north coast of Cuba and Andros Island in the Bahamas, with tropical storm force winds extending outward up to 205 miles from the center.

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef, Florida Bay and Andros Island.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the Florida east coast from Golden Beach southward to Ocean Reef.

Shelters Open in Monroe County

The NHC issued a tropical storm warning for the Cuban provinces of Ciego De Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago De Cuba and Guantanamo, the Bahamas excluding Andros Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef, Lake Okeechobee and the Florida west coast from north of Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs, including Tampa Bay.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Matanzas and Cienfuegos, the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach and the Florida west coast and the Florida Panhandle north of Tarpon Springs to Indian Pass.

On Saturday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the state of Florida, while a hurricane watch was issued for Miami Beach and part of Miami-Dade. Broward was under a tropical storm warning.

South Floridians were urged to monitor the progress of Isaac throughout the weekend. Winds will increase locally early Sunday and peak during the afternoon and evening. Gale force winds were forecast to end Monday morning.

No School in Miami-Dade, Broward Monday

In addition to wind, abundant rain is expected with 4 to 8 inches in South Florida. There may also be higher amounts, perhaps up to 12 inches.

Several flights in and out of Miami International Airport were either cancelled or delayed Sunday. Click here for an update on flights.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued an evacuation order for residents living in mobile parks and low-lying areas prone to flooding Saturday afternoon, but no general evacuation order was given.

South Beach Near Silent as Isaac Nears

In Monroe County, officials strongly recommended that visitors leave the Keys if they can but no mandatory evacuation was issued.

In Broward, officials encouraged residents to brace for tropical storm conditions. Tropical storm conditions are also possible in portions of northwestern Cuba Sunday, the NHC said.

Hurricane Preparedness List

As for the Republican National Convention which was scheduled to begin Monday in Tampa, officials announced Saturday that the bulk of the convention would be delayed until Tuesday due to Isaac. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the convention will convene briefly Monday and recess until Tuesday afternoon.

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