Isaac could become hurricane before reaching Haiti | Pakistan Today

Isaac could become hurricane before reaching Haiti

Tropical Storm Isaac barreled toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti Thursday with forecasters predicting it could soon turn into a hurricane that hits Hispaniola and then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba over the weekend.
Hurricane conditions are expected as early as Friday over parts of Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
Haiti is particularly vulnerable because thousands of people still live in makeshift homes two years after an earthquake devastated the capital Port-au-Prince and killed an estimated 250,000 people.
The storm was on track to make landfall Saturday in Guantanamo, the site of the US naval base and prison that houses the alleged 9/11 plotters and other detainees from the US “war on terror.”
Several hundred people were evacuated from the base on Thursday, and legal proceedings against the 9/11 plotters were postponed as the base buckled down for the storm.
“We sandbag anything we know where there is a flooding risk,” sergeant Jessica Brown told AFP as she led a team of roughly 10 young men in the stifling tropical heat at Guantanamo.
Donning a white construction helmet and shielding his eyes with sunglasses, lieutenant David Moore monitored the hoisting of a landing craft by an enormous crane at the base port,.
“This is in preparation for the expected storm. We take the watercraft we can from the water and secure them on land,” he said. “They could damage themselves or damage the piers.”
At 1200 GMT, Isaac’s center was about 360 kilometers (225 miles) south-east of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Miami-based NHC reported.
The storm packed maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) an hour, and was moving towards the north-west at a speed of 21 kilometers (13 miles) and hour.
A hurricane warning was in effect for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic to the border with Haiti.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the NHC said.
On the forecast track, Isaac’s center should pass to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday, and approach the Dominican Republic late Thursday and Friday.
“Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Isaac could become a hurricane on Friday before it reaches Hispaniola,” the NHC said.
On its current path, Isaac would strike Hispaniola near the southern border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, crossing the island on Saturday, reaching Cuba between Saturday and Sunday, then reaching Florida on Monday and Tuesday.
Starting Monday, Republican delegates from around the country will be in Tampa for four days for the US Republican National Convention to formally nominate former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.
Meteorologists, however, caution that it is too early to accurately predict Isaac’s path. A hurricane warning was in effect for all of Haiti as well as for most of the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Isaac was expected to dump up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain over the island, possibly spelling disaster for the 400,000 Haitians still huddled in makeshift after the nation’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
“These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the NHC warned.

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