South Florida on alert as Tropical Storm Isaac exits Haiti, killing 3

Saturday, August 25, 2012
By Paul Martin
August 25, 2012

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – At least three people died in Haiti as Tropical Storm Isaac triggered mudslides and flooding there before heading back over water and towards Cuba. Isaac should become a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday just as it nears the Florida Keys, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, and then grow into an even stronger Category 2 storm. “Hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning area in southwest Florida and the Florida Keys on Sunday,” the center said in a Saturday morning advisory. Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday declared a state of emergency to make sure local and state agencies would be ready. The center now expects Isaac to build to a Category 2 hurricane, with winds up to 110 mph, after it enters the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Isaac is a massive storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending 230 miles from the center. Key West International Airport was halting all flights at 7 p.m. Saturday until the storm had passed. In Haiti, a woman and a child in the town of Souvenance were killed in the storm, a local official reported. In the capital Port-au-Prince — where some 350,000 people are still living in tents or shelters after the 2010 Haiti earthquake — a girl, 10, was killed when a wall fell on her. Power outages and flooding were reported as Isaac moved across the hilly and severely deforested Caribbean country. “There’s a lot of rain, a lot of wind,” said Magdala Jean-Baptiste, who huddled with her frightened children in their home in the southern coastal city of Jacmel. “We haven’t had any power since the storm started yesterday. We passed the night with no sleep.” In neighboring Dominican Republic, Isaac felled power and phone lines and left at least a dozen towns cut off by flood waters. The most severe damage was reported along the south coast, including the capital Santo Domingo, where more than half the city was without power. Cuba prepared by closing beaches and evacuating tourists in vulnerable areas, NBC’s Mary Murray and The Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel reported from Havana. Flights across Cuba were also suspended. -NBC


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