Isaac Zeroes in on Gulf Seven Years after Katrina

January 9, 2013

Residents living along the coastal areas from Florida’s Panhandle to southeastern Louisiana are feeling anxious as Tropical Storm Isaac nears hurricane strength, closing in on the area with a projected landfall just one day short of the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Forecasters have Isaac hitting land near New Orleans Tuesday night as most likely a Category 1 hurricane with winds of about 90 miles per hour.

People living in Isaac’s path have been ordered to leave their homes ahead of the storm. While Isaac is not expected to be as furious as Katrina when it struck the Big Easy as a Category 3 storm, New Orleans will not get off unscathed as Isaac is expected to cause some flooding and wind damage there.

Katrina killed about 1,800 people. Most lost their lives because the levee systems around the city of New Orleans were breached which led to massive flooding. The levees have been improved upon since then and there are back-up generators in place if there should be power outages so now it’s just a wait and see situation.

Isaac slowed down a bit in the Gulf of Mexico due to a breakup of an eye wall of the storm but even so, its winds are still remaining at just under hurricane strength at around 70 miles per hour. The storm can potentially result in some areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama getting over a foot and a half of rainfall as the storm is picking up a lot of moisture as it churns over the warm waters of the Gulf. The National Hurricane Center is warning that Isaac is a huge storm which can kick up very dangerous conditions as far as 200 miles out from its center when it finally comes ashore.

Isaac can cause 8 to 12 foot tidal surge conditions along coastal waters. Anyone living on the coast that experienced flooding during Katrina is being told to evacuate because of this. In spite of the evacuation warnings, many coastal residents have decided to board up their homes and ride out the storm.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting that Isaac will strike the Louisiana coast at around 7pm Tuesday as a Cat 1 hurricane. Flash flood watches are in effect for the southeastern portion of Louisiana and southern Mississippi through Wednesday evening. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 15 inches are expected along this stretch of land over a 36 hour period with some isolated areas getting up to 20 inches of rain. That kind of heavy rain can easily overwhelm drainage systems and result in rapid runoff and street flooding.

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