Everyone that has been keeping an eye on Isaac these past few days knew it was coming. Tropical Storm Isaac has been declared officially 'Hurricane Isaac' on Tuesday by the US National Hurricane Center in Miami. According to weather officials, the storm has advanced to 75 mph. Hurricane status is achieved at 74 mph. Of course, to those affected already in the islands, it didn't really matter if Issac was called a 'Tropical Storm' or a 'Hurricane'. It felt pretty much the same to them, and a few miles per hour difference doesn't make much of an impact to those the storm has already ravaged.
The storm is expected to make landfall sometime Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning in southern Louisiana. However, experts are predicting that the Pelican State isn't the only one that will be affected by the storm. Folks in Alabama and Mississippi will also be in danger, and the storm has already skirted Florida. The GOP convention only suffered a one day delay, and then slowly began their planned activities, but there were many who wished that the storm had completely washed out the convention, and delayed Romney's nomination for days or weeks.
The storm could get much stronger by the time it reaches the Gulf Coast, with a previous model predicting wind speed up to 90 mph. A statement by President Obama said that residents should listen to their local authorities and follow their instructions as Hurricane Isaac approaches. "You need to take this seriously," Obama was quoted as saying. This should be common sense to everyone, but apparently the President felt the need to repeat it, for those who were thinking of riding out the storm.
Auditoriums, schools and other large locations have been set up as shelters, but not everyone is taking advantage of them, and many of the rural homes along Highway 24 in Terrebonne Parish are in particular danger from the storm, as most are trailers or run-down houses. Some of these people may find shelter elsewhere but most have nowhere to go, and no money to get there if they did. Some of these folks are very likely on fixed incomes, or without a car. It seems as if their respective governments would be able to do something to shuttle them somewhere if that is the case.
Weather officials are saying that the effects of Isaac could extend up to 200 miles from the center, and the real danger is in the water that will be dumped from the storm. The low coasts in the four affected states, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida are all in danger of flooding. For Floridians, the danger was thought to have passed, but now they must worry about the edges of the storm for the western part of the coast in northern Florida.
The unusual thing about this storm is the path and the timing, which takes it to New Orleans seven years to the day when Katrina hit the city. Katrina was on August 29th, 2005. However, officials say that New Orleans is much better prepared for the storm this time, with more than $14 billion spent to improve flood defenses. This may be very well for New Orleans, but the other areas that could be affected don't have $14 billion levees and flood upgrades.