PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ‚?? Tropical Storm Isaac pushed into Cuba on Saturday after sweeping across Haiti‚??s southern peninsula, where it brought flooding and at least three deaths, adding to the misery of a poor nation still trying to recover from the terrible 2010 earthquake.
Forecasters say the storm poses a threat to Florida Monday and Tuesday, just as the Republican Party gathers for its national convention in Tampa. It could eventually hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of nearly 100 mph.
Due to the weather, the convention will convene Monday, then recess until Tuesday afternoon once the storm is expected to have passed.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency and officials urged vacationers to lead the Florida Keys and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said a hurricane warning was in effect there, as well as for the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach south to Ocean Reef and for Florida Bay. He is canceling his speech at the convention as well.
At least three people were reported dead. A woman and a child died in the Haitian town of Souvenance, Sen. Francisco Delacruz told a local radio station. A 10-year-old girl died in Thomazeau when a wall fell on her, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of Haiti‚??s Civil Protection Office. She said as many as 5,000 people were evacuated because of flooding.
Many, however, stayed and suffered.
The Grive River overflowed north of Port-au-Prince, sending chocolate-brown water spilling through the sprawling shantytown of Cite Soleil, where many people grabbed what they could of their possessions and carried them on their heads, wading through waist-deep water.
‚??From last night, we‚??re in misery,‚?Ě said Cite Soleil resident Jean-Gymar Joseph. ‚??All our children are sleeping in the mud, in the rain.‚?Ě
More than 50 tents in a quake settlement collapsed, forcing people to scramble through the mud to try to save their belongings.
About 300 homes in Cite Soleil lost their roofs or were flooded three feet deep, according to Rachel Brumbaugh, operation manager for the U.S. nonprofit group World Vision.
Isaac was centered about 40 miles east of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, early Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It was moving northwest at 17 mph.
Tropical force winds extended nearly 205 miles from the storm‚??s center, giving Isaac a broad sweep as it passes.