Many Tampa Bay area counties remain under a tropical storm warning despite a further shift to the west in Tropical Storm Isaac’s track.
“Even though it does look like conditions are going to be improving, we still want people to be on the lookout,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Talley.
The tropical storm warnings remain in effect for Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Only the coastal area of Pasco County is still under a tropical storm warning.
The National Hurricane Center put Isaac just south of Key West as of its 5 p.m. advisory. The storm is moving west northwest at 16 mph and has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Isaac is still expected to reach hurricane strength as it makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico. The storm’s projected landfall is somewhere between New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Panhandle.
Even though the westward shift means landfall on Florida’s west coast isn’t likely, Talley said it is too early for Bay area residents to let their guard down.
“These things can do any number of things as (they) sit out in the Gulf,” she said. “(People) still need to have emergency plans in place.”
Talley said the Tampa Bay area is still likely to see heavy rains, wind gusts of up to 34 mph and waves that are as much as 3 feet above normal.
River flood warnings also remain in effect in many areas, including along the Anclote, Manatee, Little Manatee and Alafia rivers and at Cypress Creek.
In the meantime, most counties in the Bay area have canceled school for tomorrow and many government agencies have told their employees to take the day off.
Stay with Patch for updates on Tropical Storm Isaac as they become available.