Isaac moves into Gulf, aims NW

Emergency plans set in place from New Orleans to Florida Panhandle

MIAMI | August 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac moved into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and seemed to begin a track that could take it into the Louisiana coast on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The deadly storm lashed the Florida Sunday with gusty winds, tornado warnings and rain. Wind gusts knocked down power lines and thousands were left without electricity.

But in the Caribbean, Isaac left misery and suffering where it was blamed for the deaths of at least nine people, including seven in Haiti and two in the Dominican Republic.

At 11 p.m. EDT, the center of Isaac was centered about 75 miles southwest of Key West and about 510 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River as it moved into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm was sporting sustained winds of 65 mph with higher gusts and was moving west-northwest at 14 mph. Tropical storm-force gales were extending 205 miles out from its center.

U.S. forecasters said a hurricane warning was in effect for east of Morgan City, La., to Destin, Fla., including New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

A hurricane watch was in place for east of Dustin to Indian Pass, Fla.

A tropical storm warning was ordered for the Florida Peninsula from Sebastian Inlet southward on the state's east coast and from Tarpon Springs southward on the west coast.

A tropical storm warning also was out for the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and from east of Destin to the Suwannee River.

Isaac was forecast to make a gradual turn to the northwest and to slow its forward speed over the next couple of days. That track would take the storm away from the Florida Keys Sunday night, over the eastern gulf Monday and approaching the northern gulf Tuesday.

Forecasters said they still expect Isaac to strengthen and become a hurricane in a day or two.

The Office of Civil Protection in Haiti said the seven people killed in the Caribbean island nation included a young man buried in a landslide in DonDon, a 7-year-old boy electrocuted in the Artibonite Valley, a woman killed by a falling tree in Jacmel and a 10-year-old girl in Thomazeau, the Herald said, while police in the Dominican Republican said two men drowned in rain-swollen rivers.

Many thousands of people were left without power on the island, as well.

"We've lived through this before. We're not afraid," Lucien Pierre, a 28-year-old mother of two, told the Miami newspaper as she washed clothes outside her tent. "We'll pray and watch."

The United Press International, Inc. (UPI) contributed to this story.

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