All tropical storm and tornado warnings have expired for the Tampa Bay area as Isaac continues to move further west over the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said Monday.
The good news for Tampa Bay means bad news for the northern Gulf coast, as Isaac is expected to reach hurricane strength over the next 48 hours as it approaches the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center warns of significant storm surge in the northern Gulf coast region, where several tropical storm and hurricane warnings are in place.
The storm was about 250 miles south of Apalachicola at 11 a.m. Monday and moving at about 14 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of up to 65 mph, forecasters said.
Locally, bands of heavy rain and wind gusts are still expected throughout the day, according to Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker, but the region seems to have escaped Isaac's worst effects.
In Pinellas County, beachgoers were warned to watch out for in the Gulf.
Public schools were closed in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties Monday.
And the Republican National Convention opened Monday morning in downtown Tampa but with an abbreviated schedule due to the threat of the storm. The convention runs through Thursday.