Hurricane warning issued as Isaac moves towards Florida, Gulf

With Tropical Storm Isaac closing in on Florida ahead of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Saturday urged local residents to be prepared.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the Florida Keys and portions of the state's west coast. A hurricane watch is also in effect for the southeastern part of the state.

The National Weather Service predicts that Isaac will strengthen and become a hurricane on Sunday.

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"FEMA and its federal partners remain in close coordination with states and tribal governments across the Southeast as Tropical Storm Isaac continues to move out of the Caribbean," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in a statement. 

"Residents in this area should make sure to listen to local officials for updates and information. Check your family plans and emergency supplies, review your evacuation routes and remember that evacuation orders come from local officials," he said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Saturday declared a state of emergency, a step that will help federal and state officials coordinate their response.

The GOP convention is scheduled to begin on Monday in Tampa. William Harris, the convention's CEO, said on Thursday that the party would closely monitor the weather but was planning to move forward with the event.

"Governor Scott and local emergency officials have assured us that they have the resources in place to respond to this storm should it make landfall, as our primary concern is with those in the potential path of the storm," Harris said. "We continue to move forward with our planning and look forward to a successful convention." 

Vice President Joe Biden postponed a scheduled trip to Tampa to allow local officials to devote resources to their response to the storm. Biden is expected to attend events in Orlando and St. Augustine, Fla. on Tuesday.