“We always have people get injured or killed post-storm,” Broward Emergency Operations Director Chuck Lanza said.
The single damage report to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office: a tree that fell onto the stairs of an unoccupied home on Big Pine Key.
In Haiti, meanwhile, the death toll continued to grow and officials were still assessing widespread damage.
The Office of Civil Protection on Monday reported 19 deaths — up from seven previously reported. The deaths included a young man killed in a landslide in DonDon, a town in northern Haiti, and a 10-year-old girl who was killed when her home collapsed north of Port-au-Prince.
In the tourist town of Jacmel, in Haiti’s southern peninsula, the damage was pronounced. Houses were still standing but crops, and livelihoods, were washed away.
The regional death toll now stands at 21, including two people who died after being swept away in a river in the Dominican Republic.
After passing over eastern Cuba, Isaac weakened a bit as its center skirted just south of Key West after a meandering journey across the Caribbean.
David Zelinsky, a meteorologist at NHC, said the storm hugged Cuba closely enough to disrupt its formation but it will fuel up on the warm Gulf of Mexico and there is nothing in the atmosphere likely to beat it down.
“It may take a little longer to become a hurricane but we’re still forecasting that,” he said.
Zelinsky cautioned Isaac could be stronger than the Category 2 now forecast. Pinpointing intensity is difficult, he said, and the average error two days out is a full category, plus or minus. The worst damage could come via storm surge, which could reach six to 12 feet on the stronger, right side of Isaac.
There also was considerable uncertainty about its path along the Gulf Coast. “Two of our best performing models are at opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Zelinsky. “One turns it farther right toward Florida, the other goes left.”
Either way, both scenarios suggested a nasty couple of days in Tampa, scene of this year’s Republican National Convention — no direct hit but a possible storm surge and certainly rain and tropical force winds.
Miami Herald staff writers Curtis Morgan, Cammy Clark, Christina Veiga, Laura Isensee, Lazaro Gamio, Susan Cocking, Kathleen McGrory and Jacqueline Charles in Haiti contributed to this report.