Tropical Depression Nine is now Tropical Storm Isaac.
While the storm is currently east of Puerto Rico, the five-day forecast puts it close enough to Florida that residents should be mindful of developments over the next few days, said Jennifer Colson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.
“We’re going to be monitoring it,” she said. “It’s too early to say” where it will go.
The storm’s general direction, however, is cause for Tampa Bay area residents to start getting ready – just in case.
With the Republican National Convention starting on Sunday with a kick-off party at St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field, residents and convention goers need to be watching for updates.
Residents should be “watching it, absolutely,” she said. Now is also a good time to double check hurricane kits, supplies and evacuation plans, she added.
“Make sure nothing’s changed as far as where you’re going to evacuate.”
Colson said the five-day track puts the storm just outside the Keys. The potential threat to Florida will become more clear as the week progresses and the RNC gets closer.
While Isaac’s eventual path remains a mystery, Colson said Tampa Bay has its own concerns right now.
“We currently have quite a bit of active weather going through the Tampa Bay area,” she said. A special advisory has been issued for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Residents there might see wind gusts of up to 50 mph through 6 p.m. The storms are also likely to bring deadly lightning and possible hail, she said.
Rain chances remain high in most of the Bay area through Thursday with a gradual tapering off over the weekend.
For a localized forecast, visit the National Weather Service online.
To find out more about hurricane preparedness, search "2012 Hurricane Guide" on Patch.
Stay with Patch for updates on Tropical Storm Isaac as they become available.