Hurricane Isaac raced over the north Atlantic early Monday toward Newfoundland, where the Canadian Meteorological Service upgraded a tropical storm watch to a tropical storm warning.
At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT), Isaac maintained hurricane strength with top sustained winds near 75 mph (121 kph), forecasters said. It was just above the 74 mph (119 kph) threshold for the storm to be considered a hurricane.
The fifth hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 500 miles (805 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, and was moving north-northeast near 30 mph (48 kph).
The tropical storm warning applied to the Avalon Peninsula, including the cities of Cape Race and St. Johns. A tropical storm watch was also issued for the Burin Peninsula and Bonavista Peninsula.
Isaac, the ninth named storm of the season, was expected to weaken only slightly before passing over or near southeastern Newfoundland, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Newfoundland was buffeted by 100 mph (160 kph) wind gusts from the remnants of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 14.
Isaac's winds and rain will be comparable to a typical winter storm, said Chris Landsea, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, reports AP.
"At this point, it's anticipated to be a weaker impact than what Florence did," he said.
The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.