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Hillsborough Officials: Tropical Storm Isaac Bears Watching

Emergency responders are keeping a close eye on the storm and urge residents to do the same.

With the Republican National Convention just around the corner, the last thing Hillsborough County wants to deal with is an uninvited guest.

Courtesy of Tropical Storm Isaac, the county’s emergency responders might not have a choice in the matter.

While forecasters say Isaac could turn north by the weekend and head for Florida, it's still too early to tell for sure if the storm is a serious concern for the Tampa Bay area, said Hillsborough County Emergency Management spokesman Willie Puz.

"We still don’t have a defined path," Puz said. "We don’t know where it's going to go. It's on our radar and it's something we’re watching as we do with any storm.”

Puz was part of a state-wide planning team that discussed all aspects of the Republican National Convention, including inclement weather.

"There are plans in place," he said. "We have practiced; we are prepared to respond to this like any other storm."

Despite what track the storm takes, Puz said all residents should be prepared for hurricane season by knowing how they'll respond should they be required to evacuate, by having important papers and documents secured and along with their homes and personal boats. Plans for pets should also be in place should a storm hit.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole Carlisle says Hillsborough County is in for some wet weather and the potential for flooding whether Isaac comes our way or not.

“All of the rain we have gotten has caused the rivers to (be near flood stage),” Carlisle said.

A flood watch has been issued for the county until 8 p.m. tonight, Aug. 22. This means that flooding is possible within the next 24 to 36 hours.

Carlisle said the flooding threat doesn’t come from Tropical Storm Isaac. Rather, it’s from a “stalled frontal boundary over us, and we’re expecting more rain today.”

Since Isaac could also be in Hillsborough’s forecast, Carlisle is also urging residents get ready – just in case.

“Don’t focus too much on the skinny black line” in the hurricane track, she said. “Do focus on preparing yourself in the case a hurricane does come barreling our way. It won’t necessarily take a direct impact to cause a problem.”

Stay with Patch for updates about Tropical Storm Isaac as they become available.

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