Update: Isaac spins into 4th Atlantic hurricane of season on approach to Louisiana coast
Update: Mississippi, two other Gulf Coast states declare emergencies ahead of Isaac
All coastal residents from southeastern Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle are being urged to prepare for hurricane conditions.
Hurricane watches previously issued along the central Gulf Coast have been upgraded to warnings as Tropical Storm Isaac nears, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The hurricane warnings are in effect from just east of Morgan City, La., to Destin, Fla., including metropolitan New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Mobile and Pensacoula. A hurricane watch is also in place east of Destin to Indian Pass, Fla.
As of late Sunday afternoon, Isaac was located 40 miles west of Key West, Fla.with top sustained winds of 60 mph. It was moving west northwest at 16 mph.
NHC says on the current forecast track with a general west northwest to northwest movement, is expected to approach the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday as it strengthens over the warm waters of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
The current forecast projections indicate Isaac could reach as high as category two intensity with winds from 96 to 110 mph before it makes landfall near the Mississippi and Louisiana border near Bay St. Louis on Wednesday.
However, much uncertainty remains on the ultimate track of the storm.
“The track forecast beyond day 2 has become problematic,” NHC said
“There is a large spread among the more reliable track models. It should be noted that there is greater than usual uncertainty in the track forecast,” NHC added.
Regardless of the track, now is the time for all coastal residents to put their preparedness plans in place as this potential hurricane threatens the region.
Total rainfall amounts of five to 10 inches with maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible along the eastern and central Gulf Coast, which could result in significant flooding.
Also, storm surge flooding of six to 12 feet is possible along and east of the storm’s landfall.
Mississippi on average is hit directly by a hurricane every seven years. It has been exactly seven years since the last hurricane, Katrina, hit the state.
This is a developing weather situation and Gulf Coast residents are urged to stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available concerning Isaac.
Get interesting environment and science and space news. Also, follow along with the thousands of others for periodic weather updates, news and notes on Twitter.