As Isaac forecast tracks west, it still could bring heavy winds, rain to Manatee

MANATEE -- Manatee County residents should expect winds and rain beginning 2 a.m. Monday from Tropical Storm Isaac, which on its current track may develop into a Category 1 hurricane, officials said Friday.

However, they were relieved to report that forecasters expect Isaac’s path through the Gulf of Mexico to move west, predicting the closest the storm would come to Manatee County would be 100-150 miles.

“This is all basically pretty good news,” said Steve Simpson, a county emergency management officer.

The National Weather Service still considers Manatee County in the “cone of uncertainty,” where Isaac might go, Simpson told a roomful of officials gathered today for a briefing at the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center.

Officials said they do not yet plan to activate the EOC manage response to the storm.

Local residents can expect heavy rains, urban and inland flooding, gusty winds and squall lines that will approach the Myakka area in eastern Manatee County first, Simpson said.

However, he discounted the possibility of severe surges along the coast from the Gulf of Mexico, saying they were a “non-factor” in the current scenario.

However, the National Weather Service has already posted a flood warning for eastern Manatee County at the head of the Myakka River, and the five-day forecast predicts up to eight inches of rain, Simpson said.

“We’re already pretty soaked as it is; we’ll be seeing significant inland water,” he added.

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