Tropical Storm Isaac continues to stay on course to crash the Republican Party's National Convention in Tampa next week.
The latest update from the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will keep to a west-northwestward track for the next 48 to 72 hours and possibly reach Florida's Gulf Coast and the Tampa Bay area by around 2 p.m. Monday.
The storm's structure suggests it will strengthen slowly, but conditions are favorable for "rapid intensification," forecasters warned.
That means Isaac could reach hurricane strength at about the time it makes landfall in Hispaniola, in 24 to 36 hours.
"It still has to interact with Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and so we'll see how much that tears it apart," said Jennifer Colson, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
Models call for the storm to move up the Florida peninsula, but variables – such as how long Isaac is over open water – will determine its strength as it nears Tampa Bay.
"It looks like Monday afternoon is when we'll know if we see the effects, if any," Colson said.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Joyce has formed on Isaac's heels.
The 10th named storm of the 2012 hurricane season seems to be less organized than Isaac and is forecasted to travel off Florida's Atlantic coast.
Stay with Patch for updates on Tropical Storm Isaac as they become available.