As the storm approached, photos on social media platforms conveyed the gravity of the situation on the Gulf Coast:
[caption id="attachment_12994986" align="alignleft" width="300" caption=" Credit: skooksie via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/skooksie/7875167696/Businesses board up with plywood in New Orleans on Monday, one day before the Hurricane is expected to hit land.Credit: @PhilBryantMS http://twitpic.com/aoo1jmMississippi Governor Phil Bryant tweets a meeting with FEMA after President Obama declared a state of emergency in Mississippi on Tuesday afternoon.Credit: @jonahjeter https://twitter.com/jonahjeter/status/240498213977731072While Louisiana residents evacuate, residents in Charleston, SC made light of the flooding brought on by Isaac, kayaking through downtown Charleston. Flash flood warnings for Charleston have been extended to 5:30 PM.5:14 p.m.In Tampa, California's delegation just awarded all of its 172 delegates to Mitt Romney.4:55 p.m.Did you catch this terrifying/majestic shot of Isaac in your Twitter feed in the last few days? It's widely reported to be a fake, and photoshopped to boot. The picture has been circulating for years, rearing its thunderhead whenever a major storm is on the horizon. "][/caption]
Earlier today storm chaser Reed Timmer posted this shot on Twitter of the storm approaching Waveland, La.:
According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, “personnel have been evacuated from a total of 503 production platforms, equivalent to 84.4 percent of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico,” shutting down 93 percent of US oil production in the Gulf. It is likely that this will push up gas prices, with the subsequent knock on effects on the economy.
Though Isaac is not nearly as powerful a storm as Katrina, it will put pressure on the infrastructure that protects the Crescent City, much of which is below sea level. Earlier today the Los Angeles Times reported that the storm will be:
...a test of a levee and pump station system that failed during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Those systems have been repaired, replaced or upgraded as part of a massive $11-billion inter-agency effort led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of an ongoing $14.6-billion federal project.
"We took a lot of lessons learned from Katrina,’’ said Rene Poche of the Corps’ office in New Orleans. "We believe the system will perform as designed.’’
During an election season when the efficacy of government has been a persistent theme it's possible that the results of this massive project will, fairly or not, become a talking point for one of the parties.
Isaac has winds reported at about 75 miles per hour, roughly half of the peak reached by Katrina. Isaac as a whole is relatively slow-moving, bearing down at about 10 miles per hour. This could increase the total rainfall in certain areas. Already the Times-Picayune is reporting power outages in Plaquemines Parish at the southeast tip of Louisiana.
Tomorrow, August 29, is the seventh anniversary of when Katrina hit New Orleans. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said:
"The timing of this storm coming on, as fate would have it, the anniversary of Katrina has everybody in a state and sense of alertness, and that is a good thing. It is important to be on high alert. It is also important to just stay prepared,"
Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall at New Orleans around 7 p.m. eastern tonight.
Earlier today President Obama told Gulf Coast residents “Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.” With the memory of Katrina still fresh in national psyche -- especially in New Orleans -- Obama has signed an emergency declaration designed to hasten federal relief efforts.
Google.org has released a map of the storm equipped with geographically tailored alerts and emergency shelter locations.
Rick Knapp, director of the National Hurricane Center explains why Isaac has been upgraded from tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane: