Tropical Storm Isaac looks to be headed straight for New Orleans and is predicted to strike the Gulf Coast as at least a Category 2 hurricane with wind speeds up to 110 mph Wednesday on the seventh anniversary of Katrina — the mother of all monster storms.
As of 8am Monday, the National Hurricane Center had posted hurricane warnings stretching from east of Morgan City, La., to the city of Destin in Florida’s Panhandle. Isaac’s bull’s eye includes metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. The NHC reports Isaac continues to track west-northwest at 14 mph, but by tomorrow is expected to steer north.
New Orleans is under a state of emergency and the National Guard has been mobilized.
Meanwhile, Tampa, Florida – the host city of the 2012 Republican National Convention – remains under a tropical storm warning. The National Weather Service says conventioneers can expect winds of up to 45 mph today. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast to persist through the remainder of the week.
Up to 18 inches of rain is possible in Louisiana, accompanied by a storm surge of up to 12 feet, according to the NHC.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina exploded into a Category 5 storm with top winds of 174 mph as it crept across the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina left 1,833 dead in its wake from the Bahamas to Alabama on Aug. 29 of that year.
With damages exceeding $145 billion, it ranks as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Let’s hope and pray that if the Isaac does become a Hurricane and strikes New Orleans that it won’t be a repeat of 2005 and that local, state and federal governments won’t make the same blunders as they did with Katrina.