UPDATE: Florida Power & Light is reporting about 4,800 customers without power in Palm Beach County. The outages are due to downed lines, but crews are working to repair the problems as they happen, said spokeswoman Alys Daly. The number is likely to fluctuate as the wind and rain blows through. FPL has about 687,000 clients in the county.
In anticipation of Isaac’s arrival, FPL has brought nearly 8,000 restoration workers into the region. About 600 of them are gathering at the South Florida Fairgrounds staging area for Palm Beach County to be dispatched as needed from there, Daly said. The crews are working and can continue to work in these conditions and stand down in sustained winds of 35 mph or more.
At 11 a.m. Isaac was 80 miles east southeast of Key West and moving west northwest at 18 mph. Isaac is a very broad storm that is already delivering wind and rain to Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. It is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by the time it hits the Keys later today and into tonight, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Residents of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are beginning to see bands of heavy rain. Rainfall totals today and tomorrow are expected to run from 4 inches to 8 inches. The heavy rains could lead to localized flooding.
Meanwhile, the area is under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. A watch means the weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. The National Weather Service issued the watch at 8:30 a.m.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect in Palm Beach County and running north to the Sebastian Inlet. Points north of there are under a Tropical Storm Watch.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A watch means those conditions are possible.
Because of the forecast calling for high winds, Palm Beach County Public School district officials canceled all school activities for today. However, schools are expected to be open on Monday.
Any changes in school operations for Monday will be announced today following the county’s 2 p.m. Emergency Operations Center briefing.
Meanwhile, three shelters opened in Palm Beach County this morning at 6 a.m. They are:
Saint John First Missionary Baptist Church
600 Southwest 8th Street
Belle Glade, FL 33430
Westgate Park and Recreation Center
3691 Oswego Avenue
West Palm Beach, Fl 33409
West Boynton Park and Recreation Center
6000 Northtree Blvd.,
Lake Worth, FL 33463
From The Associated Press:
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Tropical Storm Isaac gained fresh muscle Sunday as it bore down on the Florida Keys, with forecasters warning it could grow into a dangerous Category 2 hurricane as it nears the northern Gulf Coast.
Isaac drew new strength early Sunday during a warm-water crossing of the Florida Straits after causing weekend havoc in Cuba, where it downed trees and power lines. Before that, Isaac was blamed for four deaths in Haiti.
On Key West, locals followed time-worn storm preparedness rituals while awaiting the storm after Isaac swamped the Caribbean and shuffled plans for the Republican National Convention. Forecasters said the storm was expected to reach the archipelago sometime Sunday at or near hurricane strength.