Isaac strengthens, Florida landfall expected

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Isaac remains just below hurricane strength on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but its effects are already being felt in Florida.  The storm which now has winds of 65 mph has already battered Haiti and Cuba and has set its sights on Florida.

Heavy rain and gusty winds have already been reported in south Florida, and conditions are expected to deteriorate before the center of the storm passes over the Florida Keys Sunday.

The forecast track of this storm has shifted slightly further West, but models still differ significantly on the location of Isaac's second landfall along the Gulf coast.  The storm's center could pass over as far west as Louisiana or curve further east and hit the Florida panhandle.  

Either way the Carolinas will feel the effects of the storm by Wednesday.  The question is how significantly will we be impacted?

If the storm takes a more Westerly track, the effects will be less problematic.  We'll see a surge in moisture, and showers and storms will move in.  A more easterly track could bring very heavy rain and flooding.  

At the moment, National Hurricane Center forecasters believe the most likely location for landfall will be somewhere along the Mississippi or Alabama coast.

It's important to remember that Isaac is a large storm, and areas hundreds of miles from the storm's center will be impacted.