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Tampa Dodges Isaac, But Precautions Still Necessary

BayNews 9

Florida may have dodged Isaac, but that doesn't mean the Tampa Bay area is out of the woods.

Emergency officials earlier this morning canceled the tropical storm warning that has dogged much of Florida for days.

But they warn that heavy rains and gusty winds will occur throughout the day and evening as Isaac churns its way into the Gulf of Mexico and toward the coastlines of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

A tornado warning has been issued for the Orlando area with a mild flooding expected for Little Manatee, Manatee and Myakka rivers.

Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate in a press conference this afternoon cautioned residents about focusing too much on whether Isaac will become a hurricane and on where it will land.

"This is a very large storm,'' Fugate said, adding that the potential for severe weather likely will affect many cities, not just the ones in Isaac's path.

National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb echoed those concerns, saying he was worried that people aren't taking Isaac seriously because it is still categorized as a tropical storm.

It's still "strong enough to produce problems,'' Knabb said, including dangerous winds and storm surges.

Isaac's size and its speed, or lack of speed, are other concerns, he said.

"A slow-moving, large storm poses a lot of problems,'' Knabb said.

"Just think back to Tropical Storm Debby in June,'' he said.

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