August 28, 2012–Tropical Storm Isaac reached winds of 75 mph at surface level and 110 mph at flight level earlier today. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami officially declared the storm a Category One hurricane this morning.
Isaac summed up speed over warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico and was slowly running out of sea and pushing towards land, arousing fears of flooding in coastal areas.
Storm surges and heavy rains are expected in New Orleans, a city that has still not fully recovered from hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
Many residents in New Orleans have left, and shelters were opened for those who remain when the outer walls of Isaac reach the area tonight or early Wednesday.
Isaac prompted a national televised message by President Obama today. He urged Gulf residents to heed authorities’ advice and follow instructions if asked to evacuate. “Now is not the time to tempt faith,” Obama said, “You need to take this seriously.”
The president added that FEMA officials have been on the ground in the Gulf region for the last week in anticipation of the storm.
Forecasters say the effects of Isaac will be felt in a radius of 200 miles from its eye. Water surges are expected to be worse than the effects of winds alone because the storm will dump a considerable amount of rain in the region. Walls of water could flood low-lying areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Isaac was located at about 75 miles south-southeast of the Mississippi River delta at 12:20 p.m. ET and moving Northwest at 10 mph. It was about 160 miles southeast of New Orleans.
Weather experts say the current track will bring Isaac to New Orleans, exactly seven years to the date of Katrina’s disastrous entrance on August 29, 2005.
President Obama declared a state of emergency in Louisiana last night. The declaration entitles Louisiana to receive federal funds to save lives, protect property and guard public health and safety.
New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city was ready and added that this time around the levees will hold. “We are not going to have a Katrina event,” Landrieu declared.