POSTED: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 5:53am
UPDATED: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 5:57am
Nerves are on edge from the Caribbean through the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Isaac continues to intensify and take aim at the United States.
The massive storm has already ripped across Haiti, leaving flood waters, shelters twisted and torn-away and at least one fatality.
It's an ominous calling card for the massive system that will soon turn its attention to Florida and the Gulf Coast.
"Everyone from Louisiana over through Florida needs to be watching this very carefully and taking some initial preparations," warns Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.
Residents are moving sandbags into place in southwest Florida.
Nerves are on edge in part because of the new forecast path which shows the storm growing in the warm gulf waters to perhaps a Category 2 Hurricane before landfall.
"Once it moves into the straight of Florida, that's a lot of really warm water out there - fuel for the hurricane, and it could easily intensify if it holds together," explains Gerald Campbell, director of planning for Lee County Emergency Management.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed an emergency declaration for the entire state, and most every county here in southwest Florida has already canceled school for at least Monday in anticipation of the storm.