PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened Friday night as it swirled toward an expected overnight landfall on Haiti’s southern peninsula, threatening the poor nation with punishing rain but unlikely to gain enough steam to strike as a hurricane.
Forecasters said the storm would likely stay below hurricane force until it reached the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, and they shifted its projected track back eastward and it remained a possible threat to Tampa, Fla., where the Republican National Convention starts Monday.
Communications in Haiti are often spotty and there were no official reports of any damage late Friday.
Forecasters said Isaac could drop up to eight to 12 inches of rain on the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is heavily deforested and just a few hours of steady rain can trigger deadly mudslides.