The Weather Channel continues to air 24/7 coverage of Hurricane Isaac and relay important information about the slow-moving storm including the tornado threat, flooding, power outages and the serious situation in Plaquemines Parish. At 5:15 in the morning on July 29, Jim Cantore dropped to his knees when the worst wind roared through downtown New Orleans. During a separate segment, Cantore and Al Roker clung to each other for stability as hurricane force winds whipped through the streets.
Hurricane Isaac made a second landfall at 3:15 a.m. CDT. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, as reported at 3:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 29, shows that Hurricane Isaac is a very slow mover. Isaac is located at 29.8 N/90.9 W. Its maximum sustained winds dropped to 70 mph and its pressure increased slightly to 975 mb. The storm is currently crawling NW at a reduced speed of 6 mph. Impacts from the giant storm extend up to 180 miles from the center of Isaac.
Possible tornadoes still threaten the area. On Thursday morning, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in Hancock, Herald and Pearl River Counties in Mississippi. A tornado watch is in effect until 4:00 p.m. CDT from Pascagoula to Atchafalaya. Any tornadoes that do spawn from Hurricane Isaac will be difficult to see or hear because they could be rain-wrapped and embedded in thunderstorms.
Storm surges and flooding remain serious concerns, but with the exceptions of Plaquemines and Bernard Parishes, the pumps are working and fortified levees are holding strong in New Orleans. The strongest storm surge of 10’ was reported in Shell Beach. According to The Weather Channel, the water also rose 9’ in Gulfport, 7.7’ in Bay St. Louis, 5.3’ in New Canal, 3.8’ in Grand Isle, 4’ in Mobile, and 2.1’ in Pensacola. At one point on Wednesday, the Mississippi River flowed backwards due to Hurricane Isaac. Many areas in Mississippi are under a flash flood warning, including the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport. Hwy. 90 in Biloxi remains flooded and closed to traffic. Floodwater reached the doors of the Hard Rock Casino. Mobile, AL is also under a flash flood warning.
Plaquemines Parish, located south of downtown New Orleans, did not fare as well. The Weather Channel and NBC News reported on a 12’ storm surge that flooded homes and stranded 60-80 people. The National Guard, emergency responders and good Samaritans rescued people from rooftops and their homes. School buses were utilized during the rescue operation and deputies went door-to-door. Plaquemines Parish President, Billy Nungesser, told The Weather Channel that the surge in his area was worse in Isaac than it was during Hurricane Katrina. Eighteen miles of levees were over-topped by the massive storm surge in Plaquemines. Parts of Bernard Parish and Lakeview are also underwater.
Hurricane Isaac has also caused major power outages throughout the northern Gulf region. More than 600,000 homes are without power in Louisiana. Mississippi reported 4,000 power outages, and 5,700 homes are in the dark in Alabama, mostly in the Mobile area.
Hurricane Isaac came in as a CAT 1 storm, but its enormous size and slow speed caused it to make a big impact in the region. Jim Cantore explained on-air on Thursday, “Isaac is a 1 and Katrina was a 3, but it’s all about the position where the center comes in.” So far, metropolitan New Orleans is faring well, but Cantore warns that the city is “not out of the woods yet.” Winds are expected to remain at 25-45 mph throughout Thursday night, with gusts potentially reaching 50 mph. Isolated tornadoes, torrential rainfall and flooding are all possible impacts as Hurricane Isaac continues to crawl northwestward.
On a more positive note, the situation in New Orleans could have been a lot more serious and life threatening for millions of people. The new $14.5 billion flood defense system was tested by Isaac, but it continues to pump out water successfully.
On the flip side of the coin, the situation is still very bad in Plaquemines Parish. Gov. Jindal said on Wednesday afternoon that 9-40 people are still on the rescue list. Plus, Louisiana faces another financial burden. Hurricane Isaac could become the sixth billion dollar tropical system to affect the state in some way since 2000. It would follow in the path of Tropical Storms Allison ($5 billion) and Lee ($1.3 billion), plus Hurricanes Katrina ($100-plus billion), Rita ($8-plus billion) and Gustav ($5 billion).
The Weather Channel is a complete one-stop shop for tracking and preparing for hurricanes. The following tools can be found at Hurricane Central on weather.com.
- Hurricane Tracker Map: Includes storm details such as strength, location, wind speed, movement and pressure.
- WeatherREADY: Contains information and links to help prepare and keep informed before, during and after the storm.
- Live chats: TWC hosted an online live chat on Friday, August 24. Users were able to ask questions and get real time severe weather updates from TWC experts, meteorologists and local affiliates. Additional chats may be added.
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