Student or Learner
"Powerful hurricane Ike rolled down an uncertain path Sunday that may lead to the U.S. Gulf Coast late this week, forcing emergency officials to pay attention and leaving millions of people from Florida to Mexico to wonder where it will eventually strike."
I wonder what's the meaning of the underlined verb here. Could it comfortably be replaced by "causing"?
Also, is this usage informal? How would a native speak in a casual talk, please?
To me, it's like 'forcing' or 'leaving them with no choice but to think'. You could replace it with 'causing', but I feel it wouldn't sound so natural or be as strong..