August 18, 2008

Hurricane Warning Posted for S. Florida

A hurricane warning was posted for Florida's southwestern coast midday Monday as Tropical Storm Fay left Cuba and headed north.

At 11 a.m., forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fay was located 70 miles south-southeast of Key West, moving north-northwest at 13 mph. Sustained winds strengthened slightly to 60 mph during the morning, and further strengthening above the 74 mph hurricane threshold was forecast by Tuesday, the center said.

The hurricane warning extended from Flamingo to Anna Maria Island, while much of Florida's southeast was under tropical storm warnings and watches.

The system's winds extended outwards for 115 miles, forecasters said.

The storm brought flooding to Haiti and the Dominican Republic during the weekend, and at least six people died. Forecasters said Cuba got as much as 8 inches of rain, and warned similar amounts could be expected in Florida, and slightly less in the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported schools in Broward, Dade and Monroe counties were ordered closed Monday.

Saturday, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard, and tourists in the Florida Keys were ordered evacuated Sunday morning.