New Orleans threatened by flooding
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Isaac to hurricane status just hours before the storm is expected to make landfall in Louisiana, with warnings and watches in effect for a big stretch of the northern Gulf Coast.
The slow-moving storm is expected to generate a six- to 12-foot storm surge along parts of the coast, and heavy rains will also contribute to flooding in low-lying coastal areas. Sustained winds of 70 mph could increase by another 10 mph before the storm moves ashore later Tuesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.
For now, the forecast track takes the storm up the Mississippi River Valley and straight into Arkansas, one of the areas hit hardest by this summer’s drought. Moisture from the storm could help ease the drought in the area, with two to five inches of rain forecast.
The storm is also cutting a swath through the heart of the offshore oil production area in the Gulf, shutting operations temporarily on many oil and gas drill rigs. Visit the SkyTruth blog for more information on hurricanes and offshore oil drilling.
Forecasters are warning that, even though Isaac isn’t a high category storm, its slow speed and large size will result in significant impacts. Hurricane-force winds extend about 60 miles outward from the center, with tropical storm-force winds up to 185 miles outward.
Even in the best of times, southern Louisiana is prone to flooding
The area around Venice, Louisiana, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, is at or below sea level. Even during calm weather, roads are often inundated by water.