Bands of heavy rain, thunderstorms and wind were moving into the Tampa Bay area Sunday night as Tropical Storm Isaac entered the Gulf of Mexico. But many storm warnings were canceled as Isaac apparently set its sights on the New Orleans area.
As of the 5 p.m. update, the National Weather service dropped the tropical storm warning for the northern Bay Area coast, leaving only the southern half of the state -- from Tarpon Springs south -- under a storm warning.
Strong thunderstorms were moving through parts of southern Florida, and the Bay Area has started to see scattered showers ahead of the storm. Meteorologist Dave Osterberg said to expect the possibility of tornados in the area.
"We'll probably have some tornado watches in the area -- about a 95 percent chance of it -- sometime this evening or tonight," he said.
After skirting the northern coast of Cuba, the storm was moving south of Key West. Forecasters say it could make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane somewhere near New Orleans.
It's another near-miss for the Tampa Bay area, which was in Isaac's forecast cone for several days. But that doesn't mean our area will escape heavy weather.
Widespread rain from the eastern side of Isaac could produce 4 to 8 inches of rainfall between late Sunday and Tuesday. The highest rainfall will be next to the coast.
Then, as Isaac pulls away from central Florida on Tuesday, winds around Isaac veer will southwest.
"This enhances the threat for coastal flooding, especially around high tide," FOX 13 meteorologist Lindsay Milbourne added.
In Tampa, where delegates for the 2012 Republican National Convention are arriving, convention officials decided to delay much of the items scheduled for Monday and hold them Tuesday instead, thanks to the weather forecast.
However, Sunday night's big kickoff party at Tropicana Field was underway as scheduled.
Several Bay Area counties have announced that schools (click for full list) would be closed on Monday because of the weather. Other counties and local universities were keeping close watch.