RNC Braces for Worst as Isaac Threatens Fla.

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Tropical Storm Isaac is gaining strength over the Caribbean. Forecasters say the storm will likely be a hurricane by the time it hits Haiti and the Dominican Republic late Thursday or early Friday.

It's too soon to tell where Isaac will go from there. Some projections show the storm hitting south Florida just as Republicans kick off their national convention in Tampa.

Storm Prep Underway

Isaac is still more than a thousand miles away from the Florida coast, but state officials say that's close enough to start making preparations.

"We've been on the phone a lot...talking to FEMA (and) the Department of Defense," National Weather Service Meteorologist Daniel Noah said.

The last hurricane to hit the Florida coast was only a Category 1 storm, but it did billions of dollars' worth of damage.

Emergency officials want people to be aware that a hurricane is a hurricane whether it's a Category 5 or a 1.

"You know, one of my biggest concerns all year long is complacency," Miami-Dade Emergency Management Director Curt Sommerhoff said.

RNC Braces for Worst

Meanwhile in Tampa, preparations continue for next week's Republican National Convention.

Party officials said there's a contingency plan in place if the storm hits during the convention. Tampa's mayor said he'll cancel it if weather poses a threat.

"Public safety will always trump politics," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "And so my job, and our job, if we move into that mode, is to make sure we get people out of harm's way."

Before it gets to Florida, Isaac is expected to hit Cuba.

On Friday, the U.S. military plans to evacuate 200 visitors from the military base at Guantanamo Bay.

"We're mustering all our people and we're preparing," Capt. John Nettleton, commanding officer at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, said. "My biggest concern is preventing any loss of life."

It's been seven years since the last major hurricane hit Florida.

In 2011, Irene veered east into the Atlantic. And in 2008, Ike went south, hitting Texas. Gaston in 2010 lost strength at sea before becoming a threat.

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CBN News
Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

CBN News

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