August 28, 2012 – Tropical Storm Isaac to Hit New Orleans as a Hurricane: Huge and slow, Tropical Storm Isaac lumbered up through the Gulf of Mexico from Florida toward Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday, growing stronger by the hour and putting coastal residents on notice of an extremely wet and potentially destructive next few days. Isaac became a Category I Hurricane late August 28th.
The tracking forecasts reached a consensus by Monday night that the storm, which was a little over 200 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and on the verge of becoming a hurricane, would land overnight Tuesday somewhere around southeastern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane.
But Isaac has been fickle and confounded predictions all along, and its intensification is just beginning.
The most serious danger may not be from the 100-mile-per-hour winds, but by the enormous amount of water that the storm will be bringing with it and pushing in front of it. Officials encouraged those in low-lying areas to leave, warning of 12-foot storm surges along a broad swath of the coast and days of nonstop rainfall, in some places possibly adding up to 20 inches of water.
“A slow-moving, large system poses a lot of problems,” Rick Knapp, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said in a conference call with reporters, describing the risks as “life-threatening, potentially.”
Pictured above, Compare Katrina to Isaac: While Tropical Storm Isaac (now Hurricane Isaac) is far less powerful than Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall along the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, NHC forecasters said Isaac could push a substantial amount of water into low-lying areas, with a storm surge of up to 12 feet in coastal Mississippi and Louisiana.
Any discussion among Louisiana residents about whether to stay or go was running out of time. Tropical-storm-force winds were expected to arrive overnight, rendering a last-minute escape more dangerous than sticking around. Gov. Bobby Jindal urged people in low-lying areas and places outside of levee protection to leave for safer ground, but in any case to make up their minds quickly.
Today is the day, for those that want to leave, today is the day they should move,” Mr. Jindal said at a news briefing, surrounded by the presidents of several coastal parishes.
A mandatory evacuation of New Orleans is triggered by a Category 3 hurricane, a status Isaac is unlikely to reach. But the time frame for a safe and effective citywide evacuation expired on Monday anyway.
So those who remain here, as most have, will be marking the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Wednesday not with ribbon cuttings and modest ceremonies as planned, but by hunkering down under heavy rains and winds.
All storms have their own personalities, and Isaac promises a very different experience from Katrina. While it could possibly hit New Orleans directly — unlike Katrina, which landed in Mississippi but sent surge waters against the city’s faulty levees and flood walls — Isaac will have to contend with a $14.5 billion flood protection system that has been all but completed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Read the complete nine page story of “Isaac” here:
The Master of Disaster