The 7 am update from the National Hurricane Center shows Hurricane Isaac with winds of 80 mph, and just barely moving to the west. The eye is on the border of the southern shore of the Louisiana coast this morning. That has allowed for maximum impact while remaining intact. It is still feeding off of the water, while part of the eye wall lashes inland.
The hurricane force winds extend 60 miles away from the center. Tropical Storm Force Winds extend 175 miles away from the center.
The satellite video loop (on the left) shows a classic interaction between a hurricane and land. The wind off of the land erodes the left side, or northwest corner. The wind off of the water remains strong and intact. That is the side impacting New Orleans with heavy rain and storm surge. The long duration will maximize the impact of this Category 1 storm.
Latest wind gusts:
- 66 mph at Lakefront Airport in New Orleans
- 70 mph Boothville, LA
The worst story of the morning:
Plaquemines Parish: Water overtopping 18 miles of levees with flooding up to 9 feet deep. Many homes are flooded and people are stuck. Two workers were also stranded on top of the levee as the water came up too fast before they could get out. This was a mandatory evacuation area by noon on Monday, but as often is the case, some stayed behind.
About 400,000 people have lost power.
NEW: Saffir Simspon Scale wind damage animation and storm surge slide show
Main concerns now:
STORM SURGE… STRONGEST ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CENTER OF THE STORM!
THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE… THAT IS WHY A PATH TO THE SOUTH OF NEW ORLEANS WOULD BE THE WORST CASE SCENARIO
THE SLOW MOVEMENT MAY ALLOW FOR 2 or 3 HIGH TIDE CYCLES WITH ONSHORE FLOW IN SOME LOCATIONS!
* MISSISSIPPI AND SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA…6 TO 12 FT
* ALABAMA…3 TO 6 FT
* SOUTH-CENTRAL LOUISIANA…3 TO 6 FT
* FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND APALACHEE BAY…2 TO 4 FT
Rainfall: On average of 7-12 inches with a maximum of 20 inches on the right side of the eye. This has been the original forecast from The National Hurricane Center, but with the slower movement of the storm, higher amounts may be recorded. Note that over the weekend a non tropical storm produced similar rain over Maryland with a record for Baltimore.
Tornadoes: Small spin ups are common with land falling tropical systems. As of Tuesday afternoon there were warnings posted northeast of New Orleans. Typically tornadoes would reach EF-1 or peak at EF-2. That would provide additional damage with local winds that could ‘gust’ up to 161 mph.
Latest stats from The National Hurricane Center
SUMMARY OF 600 AM CDT…1100 UTC…INFORMATION
- LOCATION…29.4N 90.5W
- ABOUT 20 MI…30 KM SE OF HOUMA LOUISIANA
- ABOUT 50 MI…75 KM SSW OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 6 MPH…9 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…970 MB…28.64 INCHES
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WATCHES (issued within 48 hours of impact) AND WARNINGS (issued within 36 hours of impact)
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* EAST OF MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA TO THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER…
INCLUDING METROPOLITAN NEW ORLEANS…LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN…AND LAKE
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* INTRACOASTAL CITY TO MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* THE MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA BORDER TO DESTIN FLORIDA
* MORGAN CITY TO SABINE PASS TEXAS
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR…
EAST OF HIGH ISLAND TEXAS TO JUST WEST OF SABINE PASS