Governor Scott Eyes Potential Panhandle Trouble as Isaac Strengthens
August 27, 2012 | WMFE - Governor Rick Scott is telling Florida Panhandle residents to prepare, as Tropical Storm Isaac gains steam and heads for the northern gulf coast.
Tropical Storm Isaac is strengthening as it continues its northwest movement through the Gulf of Mexico.
As of the 11am update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm is about 215 miles west of Fort Myers, packing winds of 65 miles per hour. Tropical storm force winds extend about 200 miles outward from the storm. Meteorologists say it is becoming more organized and could become a hurricane within 48 hours.
Isaac is expected to make landfall in the northern Gulf Coast Tuesday somewhere along the coast of Louisiana, then hover over the area for about a day before heading inland and losing speed.
Speaking to reporters from Pinellas County this afternoon, Governor Rick Scott said Florida’s concern now is Isaac’s effects on the Panhandle. High winds are expected to batter the area, said Scott, and bring up to 15 inches of rain where it is not needed.
“Tropical Storm Debbie saturated that part of the state and it is still saturated,” explained Scott. “The western part of the Panhandle could see over 24 hours of constant rain and tropical storm force winds. So, we’re worried about flooding, we’re worried about tornados.”
Although Central Florida is no longer under any warnings or watches, the outer bands of Isaac are expected to continue passing over the area today, bringing squally weather, thunderstorms, some localized flooding, and the potential for tornados.
Governor Scott said the Florida Keys saw minimal damage and some flooding from Isaac, but about 65,000 people in southeast Florida have been without power since the storm passed the area.
Scott was in Pinellas County speaking with local and state emergency management officials along with Republican National Convention organizers. Scott said he cancelled his activities at the RNC today and tomorrow, and is heading back to Tallahassee to coordinate with federal emergency management staff.
The Republican National Convention was scheduled to start today in Tampa, but concerns about Isaac prompted organizers to restructure the event to begin tomorrow.
You can see the latest updates at the National Hurricane Center here.