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(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened as it took aim at flood-prone Haiti on Friday but is not expected to become a hurricane until it churns into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico early next week.

On its current path, forecasters said the storm after sweeping over Haiti will hit Cuba and the southern tip of Florida before possibly making landfall anywhere from the Florida Panhandle or Alabama to as far west as New Orleans.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) has had a tough time projecting the exact track and long-term intensity of the large and poorly organized storm, which has drawn close scrutiny because the Republican Party’s presidential nominating convention begins on Monday in Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast.