Exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Tropical Storm Isaac has crashed into New Orleans, after barreling through the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and killing 10 people in Haiti. Isaac is also wreaking havoc in Florida, where the 2012 Republican National Convention is being held.
Heavy rains, winds, and flooding are expected to continue, and rain could hit New Orleans all week. 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.
President Barack Obama has already declared a state of emergency for Louisiana.
Over the next month, names like Katrina, Andrew, Ike, and Irene will re-enter our vocabularies alongside the names of this year’s storms as we glue ourselves to TV sets to watch and wait for mother nature’s most awesome storms to descend.
For a complete run-down of how Hurricane Isaac works, and the outlook in 2012 for hurricanes, see here.
PolicyMic will be closely tracking the storm system and providing daily updates on the situation in the Gulf. For real-time updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATES: 3:55 PM Sure enough, it looks like Kirk has strengthened into a hurricane and the depression behind it has formed into tropical storm Leslie.
All eyes are still on Isaac which is claimed one fatality so far. Tens of thousands are being evacuated from flooded areas in Louisiana and Mississippi, where over 1 million residents were without power Thursday morning. The good news is that the multi-billion dollar defenses built after Katrina to protect New Orleans have passed their first major test, according the U.S. army corps of engineers.
2:25 PM CBS News is reporting: "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at an afternoon news conference that the dam was damaged at Lake Tangipahoa in Mississippi's Percy Quinn State Park. He said officials there would release water at the dam.
Mayor Whitney Rawlings of McComb, Miss., which is north of the park, told CBS News that there was a "50-50 chance" of the dam failing. He urged people south of the dam to evacuate.
In Louisiana, Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess issued an emergency alert warning of an "imminent failure" at the dam. Burgess said between 50,000-60,000 people had 90 minutes to evacuate."
2:13 PM Plaquemines Parish President saidthat officials planned to breach a levee on the east bank to relive pressure there.
According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, "We are proceeding with plans to purposely breach that levee today between 2 and 3 p.m. The idea is to allow that water to flow out of that area. Now that the winds have shifted they're planning on having pumps on site to help de-water that area as well."
2:12 PM The storm's winds have slowed to 40 miles per hour, and it is finally moving away from Louisiana, but it leaves behind heavy flooding.
1:25 PM: Residents living along the Tangipahoa River were told to quickly evacuate after a potential dam break at Lake Tangipahoa. There is a 50 percent chance the dam would fail.
8:20 AM: Isaac is currently located near Alexandria, Louisiana as it continues to move slowly northwest over central Louisiana. Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm with current winds of 45MPH as it continues to produce heavy rains and high water levels along the Northern Gulf Coast. Water has bene reported to be up to the second floor balconies in parts of Plaquemines Parish, located south of New Orleans.
Spinning out in the middle of the Atlantic, about 1505 miles West-Southwest of the Azores, Tropical Storm Kirk is gaining momentum. Kirk currently has wind speeds of 65 MPH and it looks like it will become a Hurricane in the next 48 hours. Unlike it's big brother Isaac, however, Kirk's path looks like it will remain out to see and not pose any threat to land.
Behind Kirk, we have another Tropical Depression rapidly forming over the Central Atlantic Ocean about 1,250 miles East of the Lesser Antilles. This system will become a Tropical Cyclone in the next 48 hours as it moves West-Northwest at 15 - 20 MPH. While the worst of Isaac is behind us and while Kirk poses a minimal threat to land, this third storm's current form and location is reminiscent of that of Hurricane Irene. More to come on this idea later ... stay tuned.
.ISAAC CONTINUES TO MOVE SLOWLY NORTHWESTWARD OVER CENTRAL LOUISIANA...STILL PRODUCING HEAVY RAINS...SEVERE WEATHER...AND HIGH WATER LEVELS ALONG THE NORTHERN GULF COAST