Tropical Storm Isaac: Palm Beach County declares local state of emergency, urges preparation

Growing storm stirs county concerns

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Tropical Storm Isaac's growing size is causing the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center to declare a "local state of emergency" and shift into a heightened status of continuously staffing the building.

Most of Palm Beach County experienced gusty conditions on Saturday night with scattered pockets of rain.

The shifting weather is just a taste of what forecasters predict Isaac could bring to the area starting Sunday.

Many folks at the beach on Saturday did not let the oncoming storm stop them from heading out on the sand but they did notice the changing weather.

"We're not really sweating it too much. We've seen worse. If we saw something like a 4 coming at us, we'd be probably headed out," said Robert Magner of West Palm Beach.

With Isaac stirring in many minds, some took advantage of the weather. Wind surfers saw opportunity in the strong winds and aggressive waves, spending hour in the ocean.

"The heavy rainfall you have to be careful. I wouldn't advise anyone coming out surfing tomorrow. That's why I'm here today," said Gian Carlo Mercado, a West Palm Beach resident.

On Sunday, the forecast calls for even stronger winds and heavier rains. It is in part why the county EOC declared the "local state of emergency," hoping resident took note.

"It's a tropical storm, it's got some high winds. I would hope that you do take the seriously. I hope that you are prepared," said Vince Bonvento of the Palm Beach County EOC.

Some people wasted no time adhering to the county's message about Isaac.

The grocery stores seemed to experience added traffic where many were stocking up on cases of water and food.

"Not really worried, just don't like going out in the rain if I don't have to. I might as well get it now while it's not rain," said Sean Flannery of West Palm Beach.

While many spent Saturday evening filling their shopping carts, some wanted to make sure their gas tanks were equally as full.

"You just never know if you have to get out of town. I'd rather have a full tank than be on 'E,'" said MacKenzie Waldo of West Palm Beach.

The EOC said shelters will open for residents in flood prone area and substandard housing Sunday at 6:00 a.m.

EOC managers also said county libraries, parks and school activities at county school have also been canceled for Sunday.

Palm Tran will also cancel fixed routes and connection service on Sunday.

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