After Isaac soaks Florida, disaster responders ready to aid Gulf Coast
Published: August 28, 2012
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) -- Power outages, widespread flooding, canceled flights and a delayed Republican National Convention in Tampa will be the legacy of Tropical Storm Isaac in South Florida. But with the center of the storm staying offshore and sparing Florida the full brunt of its strongest winds, Isaac's outer bands left the state soaked but largely unscathed, apart from isolated tornado damage reported in the Venice and Palm Beach dioceses. Florida's seven-diocese network of church-affiliated emergency responders and Catholic Charities staff said Aug. 27 that they have been sharing information and stand ready to assist elsewhere as the slow-moving storm is expected to significantly gather strength over the Gulf of Mexico before its next landfall. Isaac was expected to become a Category 2 hurricane as it takes aim at the Gulf Coast region, with landfall expected anywhere from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle sometime Aug. 28 or 29. Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm's strengthening into a hurricane -- almost precisely on the seventh anniversary that Hurricane Katrina devastated the same region with high winds and flooding. "Catholic Charities directors (in Florida) are dealing with flooding in certain parts of the state while in other areas it's too early for any damage assessments -- but they are already focused on what they can do to help the other folks," said Florida Catholic Conference director Michael McCarron. He said he conducted a 30-minute conference call late Aug. 27 with church officials from around the state. In the Miami area and the Florida Keys, Isaac dropped substantial rainfall, but church officials were unaware of any storm-related damage to church properties. Church leadership will wait to see how the Miami Archdiocese may be of assistance to both the Gulf Coast or possibly storm-rattled Haiti, where Isaac's death toll has been highest, according to Deacon Richard Turcotte, chief executive officer for Miami Catholic Charities.
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