Continued from page 1

“It’s going to be all right,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Isaac could pack a watery double punch for the Gulf Coast. If it hits during high tide, Isaac could push floodwaters as deep as 12 feet onto shore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and up to 6 feet in the Florida Panhandle, while dumping up to 18 inches of rain over the region, the National Weather Service warned.

As of 11 p.m. EDT on Monday, Isaac remained a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph (110 kph). It was centered about 190 miles (305 kms) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and was moving northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

The storm’s center was forecast to move over the central Gulf of Mexico late Monday and approach the coast of southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday night, the Hurricane Center said.

On the Alabama coast, Billy Cannon, 72, was preparing to evacuate with several cars packed with family and four Chihuahuas from a home on a peninsula in Gulf Shores. Cannon, who has lived on the coast for 30 years, said he thinks the order to evacuate Monday was premature.

“If it comes in, it’s just going to be a big rain storm. I think they overreacted, but I understand where they’re coming from. It’s safety,” he said.

The storm left 24 dead in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but left little damage in the Florida Keys as it blew past. It promised a soaking but little more for Tampa, where the planned Monday start of the Republican National Convention was pushed back because of the storm.

Only a fraction of an expected 5,000 demonstrators turned out in Tampa to protest GOP economic and social policies outside the convention. Organizers blamed Isaac and a massive police presence for their weak showing.

The storm had lingering effects for much of Florida, including heavy rains and isolated flooding in Miami and points north. Gov. Rick Scott said that as of Monday evening, about 80,000 customers were without power in Florida as a result of the storm.

Scott, a Republican, was returning from the convention in Tampa to Tallahassee to monitor Isaac. Fellow Gulf Coast Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Robert Bentley of Alabama said they would not attend the convention at all. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant delayed his travel through Wednesday, leaving open the possibility he could attend the final day of the event.

States of emergency were in effect in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The choppy ocean waters generated by Isaac weren’t all bad for everyone, though. On Pensacola Bay, fishermen boasted big hauls.

“You get a little storm headed this way and they seem to run a little. When the barometric pressure drops, something causes them to run better,” said Eric Roberts, who was out fishing for mullet.

Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Orange Beach, Ala., Jessica Gresko and Melissa Nelson in Pensacola, Fla., and Curt Anderson and Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report.