Warnings issued as Isaac churns along - FOX 13 News

Warnings issued as Isaac churns along

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Bay Area, along with much of the rest of the state, was put under a tropical storm warning late Saturday as Tropical Storm Isaac continued to skirt the northern coast of Cuba.

After slipping by Hispanola, The storm had nearly reached hurricane strength early Saturday, with winds of 70 mph, though its winds had dropped back to 60 mph as of a few hours later. That prompted hurricane warnings for parts of the state's southern coast -- from Miami around to Bonita Beach, including the Keys.

LINK: Track Isaac on www.myfoxhurricane.com.

Saturday evening, for the first time, Tampa and the Bay Area were outside of the National Hurricane Center's forecast cone for the track of the storm. But that doesn't mean we will escape some heavy weather.

Forecasters expect the storm to skirt the northern coast of Cuba and pass through the Florida Strait, then into the Gulf of Mexico late Sunday or early Monday.

That's when central Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, will see significant impacts from Isaac, FOX 13 meteorologist Lindsay Milbourne said.

"A tornado threat will arrive late Sunday as the storm bears down on the southern part of the state," she warned. "The strongest winds will be near the coast Monday, with gusts up to hurricane strength."

The coastal Bay Area, from Tarpon Springs south, was included in a tropical storm warning as of 11 p.m. Saturday.

Widespread rain from the eastern side of Isaac will produce 5 to 10 inches of rainfall between late Sunday and Tuesday. The highest rainfall be next the coast.

Then, as Isaac pulls away from central Florida on Tuesday, winds around Isaac veer will southwest.

"This enhances the threat for coastal flooding, especially around high tide," Milbourne added.

An Isaac landfall late Tuesday into Wednesday is expected anywhere from Florida's Big Bend to southern Mississippi, with focus on the Apalachicola and Panama City area in the Panhandle.

In Tampa, where delegates for the 2012 Republican National Convention are arriving, convention officials decided to delay much of the items scheduled for Monday and hold them Tuesday instead, thanks to the weather forecast.

Similarly, Saturday evening, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties had announced that schools would be closed on Monday because of the weather.

The following Bay Area counties and municipalities, already soggy from weeks of rain stretching back to Tropical Storm Debby, were making sandbags available ahead of the storm:

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