Tropical Storm Isaac churned toward the northern Gulf Coast early Monday and promised to give the Republican National Convention a good drenching after lashing the Florida Keys with wind and rain but apparently causing little damage.
The National Hurricane Center predicted Isaac would grow to a hurricane over the warm Gulf of Mexico and possibly hit late Tuesday somewhere along a stretch that starts west of New Orleans and runs to the edge of the Florida Panhandle. That would be one day shy of seven years after Hurricane Katrina struck catastrophically in 2005.
In the Florida Keys, Monroe County Sheriff's spokeswoman Becky Herrin said there were no injuries and few reports of damage as the storm crossed near Key West on Sunday.
Much of the rest of South Florida remained under a tornado watch early Monday as the remnants of Isaac moved across the area.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, and 53,000 residents of St. Charles Parish near New Orleans were told to leave ahead of the storm.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley also declared states of emergency, while oil companies began evacuating workers and cutting production at Gulf offshore rigs in Isaac's projected path.
Meanwhile, the oncoming storm stopped work on rigs that account for 24 per cent of daily oil production in the U.S. potion of the Gulf of Mexico and 8 per cent of daily natural gas production there, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in its latest update Sunday