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Gulf of Mexico: Tropical Storm Isaac poses serious threat

By Sue Richards last modified Aug 26, 2012 03:11 PM

Published: 2012-08-26 15:11:56
Topics: Weather
Countries: Cuba , Dominican Republic , Haiti , Puerto Rico , Trinidad & Tobago , USA

Having swept through Cuba, tropical storm Isaac has brought flood misery to places such as Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico, and deadly effects in Haiti where four people were killed. In the US, a storm warning has been issued for the coast of Florida. Officials organised shelters and urged holiday-makers to leave the Florida Keys as Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency to make sure emergency services would be ready when the storm makes landfall today.

The Cuban government declared a state of alert in at least six provinces and evacuated thousands of people from high-risk areas ahead of landfall. In Cuba's easternmost city, Baracoa, water crashed over the seawall and ran ankle-deep through the nearby streets, Reuters news agency reports. "We fear the sea and the flooding a lot more than the rain and wind," said Baracoa housewife Yamila Sanchez. "It rains frequently here all year long, but when the sea comes in, everything floods."

In Haiti, a girl of 10 died when a wall fell on her in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The British aid charity Oxfam said it knew of three other deaths. The poorest country in the Americas is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake and many of the 400,000 people still living in tent cities, had no option but to weather the storm under canvas. "From last night, we're in misery," Cite Soleil resident Jean-Gymar Joseph told the Associated Press news agency. "All our children are sleeping in the mud, in the rain." At one site, more than 50 tents collapsed, forcing people to search the mud for their belongings.

Joan Conover of the SSCA reports on the current situation in Haiti. "The island, Isla A Vache, which cruisers go to..think they are okay except for the flooding, but no direct contact. Port A Prince - they got a lot of water and flooding. We will just have to wait to hear the end state after this..but the items Sailors Without Borders have put into place for their small business development efforts are fine (30 solar panels/invertors/batteries, and lots of school computers, treadle sewing machine etc.), as is the building.

"But the poor children and families yet again have tremendous needs. We need to get something there FAST for food/services. People were already in trouble with famine due to late rains..and now what crops they had were wiped out. I am thinking of setting up an "ARC" to store critical survival items for AAE, because this is just going to continue. But you can see the efforts are working."

The Weather Channel predicted this morning that there's a high probability that if Isaac hasn't yet become a hurricane by the time it enters the Gulf of Mexico it will then become one, with the potential for it to be stronger than a Category 1, along with it still being a big cyclone size-wise. Thus, Isaac represents a serious threat to the east-central part of the northern Gulf Coast

Taken from reports by the bbc.co.uk and the Weather Channel.

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