Seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, mayors and governors along the Gulf Coast issued dire warnings about Tropical Storm Isaac as it bore down Monday, building toward hurricane strength.
As of 11 p.m. EDT Monday, Isaac was 190 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and moving northwest at 10 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Isaac is huge — about 350 miles across — and slow-moving, with the potential to linger after landfall and lash the area with rain and high winds. The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida declared emergencies and activated the National Guard.
The latest projections showed Isaac making landfall at or near New Orleans late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
There is a concern among residents of New Orleans that Isaac could develop into a Catrina-like hurricane. Many of them are seeking for any chance to leave to city, writes Los Angeles Times.
Katrina slammed into New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, as a strong Category 3 with sustained winds of 125 mph. More than 1,800 people were killed, most in Louisiana.
No one was predicting that Isaac would develop into a catastrophic storm like Katrina, but officials made plans to evacuate low-lying areas and warned coastal residents to prepare for high winds and drenching rains.
Forecasters predicted tropical-storm-force winds Monday night and hurricane-force winds early Tuesday. Isaac was expected to build into a Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds approaching 100 mph, the National Hurricane Center said late Monday.
Residents of New Orleans barricade homes, flock to hardware stores for duct tape, boots and batteries and drive family cars to higher ground.
Oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico are shut down. The ports of New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., are closed, and barge traffic is suspended on lower portions of the Mississippi.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport said it would close Monday night after the last scheduled flight. All Tuesday flights were canceled.
Moreover, oil prices have reached the lowest level in two weeks on speculation Tropical Storm Isaac’s impact on output in the Gulf of Mexico will be limited, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, told reporters on a conference call Monday not to fixate on New Orleans because Alabama, Mississippi and other parts of Louisiana also could be hit hard.