Tropical Storm Isaac continued on Thursday churning toward a potentially destructive landfall on the island of Hispaniola on Friday, an encounter that may go a long way toward determining what impact it will have on Florida.
At 11 a.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center reported that Isaac appeared to be becoming better organized, though its maximum winds remained steady at 40 mph. The poorly defined center had shifted south but Isaac remained generally on a track that put most of Florida in its cone. The storm, though still relatively weak, was so large that South Florida was likely to feel some impact no matter which way Isaac eventually turns.
The storm, located some 200 miles south-southeast of San Juan, appeared to have spared Puerto Rico but authorities feared that the slowing storm still could flood cities around the island.
“We are worried about flooding,” Gov. Luis Fortuño said at an early morning press conference. “The storm slowed to 12 mph, so we could be getting a lot of rain in the next 12-24 hours. We ask the citizenry: don’t lower your guard.”
By 6 a.m., only 58 people had turned to one of the island’s 422 shelters. The vast majority of the island still had water and power, he said. All the ports in the south remained closed, although the San Juan port remained open. Flights to the Caribbean were canceled. Fortuño said Isaac had claimed one victim, a woman preparing her home in Bayamon had slipped and fallen off a second floor.