Tropical Storm Issac verges on hurricane strength Tuesday and, with winds currently up to 70 mph, is projected to land this evening along the Mississippi or Southeast Louisiana coast as at least a Category 1 hurricane.
So far, Issac has left 10 dead in Haiti and derailed the highly anticipated Republican National Convention in its devastating wake. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Louisiana within the week of Hurricane Katrina’s 7-year anniversary, authorizing agencies to coordinate relief efforts for the storm whose effects branch 200 miles from landfall.
Water may be a more serious threat than Issac’s winds, as enormous amounts of water pushed by the storm threaten to flood the coasts of four states. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are set to face 12-foot storm surges along the coast, days of nonstop rain, and a potential 20 inches of additional water.
PolicyMic will be closely tracking the storm system and providing daily updates in advance of the RNC Convention. For real-time updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
Rush Limbaugh claimed President Obama exaggerated forecasts of Hurricane Isaac to force the GOP to cancel the Republican National Convention. While Limbaugh said he is not “alleging conspiracy,” this video suggests otherwise:
1:30 PM: Issac officially became a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday when its winds reached 75 mph, just over the 74 mph qualification. It is expected to get stronger by the time it's predicted to hit the coast of southeast Louisiana. Only some low-lying regions have been ordered to evacuate, and shelters are open for those who chose to stay or missed the chance to evacuate.
12:15 PM: The National Hurricane Center says Isaac is moving northwest slowly, around 10 mph, and has maintained a central pressure of 976 mb since 8 AM. This slow movement will give strong tropical winds a longer period of exposure through the area, creating the potential for significant amount of structural damages and power outages. The Weather Channel has created a map outlining the threat of power outages resulting from Isaac’s tropical-storm force.
11:45 AM: All preparations are underway in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast to prevent damage from Hurricane Isaac. In a brief appearance Tuesday, President Obama called on residents to heed evacuation warnings and emphasized his administration’s efforts to direct federal agencies to extend as much help as possible. “Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings,” Mr. Obama said. “You need to take this seriously.” Some counties have instituted curfews, like Harrison County, in addition to opening shelters.
11:30 AM: What is the threat level for you? The Weather Channel has produced an exclusive threat index graphic for tropical storms and hurricanes that may be affecting land areas. Below is a brief definition of the four different levels shown on this graphic.
Aware - Areas shaded in yellow should be vigilant and follow the progress of the system closely. Alert - Typically these locations are under a watch or warning, or are expected to be in the next day or so. Action - In these areas, the risk is sufficiently high that preparations should be made for the storm. Extreme - High probability of particularly severe impacts from a hurricane or tropical storm.
11 AM: Maintaining winds around 70 mph, Issac has still not reached hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11:00 AM advisory. Mandatory evacuation has been ordered, though, for all barrier islands of the Gulf Coast. Rainfall continues to pose the biggest threat to the area, as cities like Royal Palm Beach receive 15.86” in the past 48 hours.
Here's the path of the storm: