August 28th, 2012
11:11 PM ET

Isaac 'producing a dangerous storm surge' along northern Gulf Coast

Governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed Tuesday to complete last-minute preparations to bear the brunt of Hurricane  Isaac.

The storm made initial landfall Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane after graduating from tropical storm status Tuesday afternoon.

Read the full CNN.com story here.

[Updated 11:29 p.m. ET]

[Updated 11:11 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is "producing a dangerous storm surge" along the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. ET update. Flooding from heavy rainfall will follow the storm surge, the NHC said.

At 11 p.m. ET, the storm's center of circulation was about 75 southeast of Houma, Louisiana, or 75 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, still moving at 8 mph with 80 mph maximum sustained winds.

[Updated 11:01 p.m. ET] Designer John Nelson created this fascinating and oddly beautiful visualization of every hurricane recorded since 1851. It's reproduced by Fast Company.

The image takes some getting used to, as it employs a southern polar projection; that is, Antarctica is in the center of the picture, with the other continents extending away from it. Hovering your mouse over the map enlarges an area so you can see greater detail.

Nelson created the map using data from NASA Visible Earth and NOAA International Best Track Archive, according to Fast Company.

[Updated 10:45 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 rapidly intensified Tuesday evening and became the 11th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Kirk, the National Hurricane Center said. Kirk is located in the middle Atlantic and is not likely to become a threat to land.

[Updated 10:40 p.m. ET] Utility companies in four states report more than 200,000 customers have lost power because of Hurricane Isaac, all but 1,000 of them in Louisiana.

[Updated 10:31 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army has 24 mobile feeding units (canteens), a fully equipped 54-foot field kitchen, and up to 60 personnel staged in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and elsewhere. These units have a combined daily feeding capacity of more than 31,000 meals, the organization says.

[Updated 10:23 p.m. ET]

[Updated 10:08 p.m. ET] CNNWeather meteorologist Jim Hennen says that unlike many other hurricanes that move inland and weaken quickly, Isaac could actually strengthen over the Louisiana bayou and hold its intensity as a hurricane through much of the night. It should begin to slowly lose intensity later tonight as it moves farther inland.

Storm surge will continue to be a threat through the night, and flooding is likely to be a major problem as the storm slows as it tracks inland, Hennen says. Up to 20 inches of rain will fall over the Gulf Coast region in the coming days.

Storm surge flooding of up to 12 feet will continue through evening, before diminishing overnight. The peak storm surge and winds will occur in New Orleans from now until daybreak tomorrow, and than will begin to slowly subside.

The storm will also make a direct hit on Baton Rouge late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Expect power outages to spread overnight as the storm knocks down trees and utility lines.

Rain from the storm extends over 1,200 miles from the Texas-Louisiana line all the way to the Carolinas.

Over the next several days the remnants of Isaac will move slowly northward, bringing widespread heavy rains of 4 to 6 inches to the exceptional drought areas from Arkansas into Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

[Updated 9:34 p.m. ET] A hurricane warning stretches from east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama line; it includes metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

A tropical storm warning covers the Gulf Coast from the Mississippi-Alabama line to Destin, Florida. Warnings east and south of Destin have been discontinued.

A tropical storm watch is in effect from east of High Island, Texas, to just west of Cameron, Louisiana. A hurricane watch ranges from Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana.

[Updated 9:05 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is moving slowly - about 8 mph - northwest along the coast of southeast Louisiana, and dangerous storm surge conditions continue all along the Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 9 p.m. ET update.

The Category 1 hurricane still had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles out from the center of the storm.

[Updated 8:46 p.m. ET] It's been seven years, but the scars and lessons of Hurricane Katrina are everywhere.

[Updated 8:42 p.m. ET]

[Updated 8:28 p.m. ET] New Orleans residents should expect street and bridge closures due to flooding, but the city has no plans to impose a curfew, Mayor Mitch Landrieu says.

[Updated 8:24 p.m. ET] More than 100,000 Entergy Louisiana customers were without power around 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET) Tuesday night due to the effects of Hurricane Isaac, the power company reported on its website.

[Updated 8:21 p.m. ET]

[Update 8:14 p.m. ET] In a series of tweets, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu seemed to be trying to reassure residents while not so subtly warning would-be troublemakers:

"We have over 2900 law enforcement officials at the disposal of the City of New Orleans. There are 1000 Nat'l Guard in the City right now. ...

"These law officials will help both with the storm and with the search, rescue, and recovery after. ...

"We're in heart of this fight. We are in the hunker down phase. We are using this phase to ensure City is safe & secure."

[Update 8:08 p.m. ET] Are you seeing/hearing/feeling Isaac and its effects? Share them on iReport, but please, stay safe.

[Updated 8:05 p.m. ET] Isaac has made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said.

[Updated 7:45 p.m. ET] The Army Corps of Engineers said it has closed the Bayou Verret floodgate in Louisiana and will close floodgates on Bayou Segnette on Wednesday morning because of strong wind and high tides associated with Hurricane Isaac, CNN affiliate WDSU reports.

The gates are closed when water in the canal reaches two feet above sea level and is rising, preventing surges from entering the canals. The Army Corps said the gates will remain closed until the threat from Isaac has passed.

Earlier, the Corps closed the Seabrook Floodgate Complex for the first time due to a storm event. The closure follows the closing of gates at the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (also known as the Industrial Canal) and Bayou Bienvenue earlier today.

The Seabrook Floodgate Complex is located at the north end of the Industrial Canal, just south of Lake Pontchartrain.

[Updated 7:16 p.m. ET] At 7 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center reported Hurricane Isaac was about 15 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 95 miles southeast of New Orleans. It was moving to the northwest at 8 mph and had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Winds of 74 mph or greater extend up to 60 miles out from the storm's eye.

Winds are significantly stronger at higher levels. A wind gust of 106 mph was reported at an oil rig off the Louisiana coast at an elevation of 279 feet - the equivalent of the 28th floor of a building, the NHC said.

Isaac is expected to strengthen slightly before making landfall sometime in the next few hours, then lose strength as it moves over land.

[Updated 6:50 p.m. ET] Florida isn't out of the woods yet, as outlying rain bands continue to sweep the state.

[Updated 6:40 p.m. ET] The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the Mississippi River to vessel traffic from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the mouth of the river. The closure will remain in effect until further notice.

“The few vessels that are still underway need to reach safe moorings as soon as possible,” said Capt. Peter Gautier, commanding officer of Sector New Orleans. “This storm should not be taken lightly."

During the weekend, the Coast Guard required ships, tugboats, and barges to move upriver to more secure mooring locations and began the evacuation of canals adjacent to New Orleans.

Coast Guard helicopters and small boats have been moved to safe locations and will be positioned for post-storm operations.

[Updated 6:18 p.m. ET] Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley reminds folks that during high-volume periods, it's easier to get a text through than a voice call:

[Updated 6:11 p.m. ET] Assumption Parish, Louisiana, officials have called a mandatory evacuation for all 23,000 residents, CNN Baton Rouge affiliate WBRZ reports. Officials have also imposed a curfew and banned alcohol sales.

Curfews also are in place in the Louisiana towns of Baker and Zachary, WBRZ reports.

[Updated 5:53 p.m. ET] Florida Power and Light says it has restored power to almost all its customers affected by Isaac in Florida.

[Updated 5:43 p.m. ET] A pet shelter established in Alexandria, Louisiana, by the state Agriculture and Forestry Department is housing 20 dogs, six cats, one turtle and one guinea pig, CNN affiliate KNOE reports.

[Updated 5:32 p.m. ET] Additional shelters have opened for Mississippi residents evacuating their homes. Currently, 25 shelters are open around south and central Mississippi.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Robert Latham urged residents to stay with friends and family when possible, leaving public shelters available to those who have no other place to go.

[Updated 5:09 p.m. ET] Mayor Jeff Collier says power is out on Dauphin Island, Alabama, and won't be restored until at least late Thursday, after the weather over Mobile Bay calms down, CNN affiliate WKRG reports.

As of about 3 p.m. ET, 41 Wal-mart and Sam's Club stores in four states along the coast had closed, according to the company.

Pilots at Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, have moved the base's F-16 fighter jets to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina and its F-15s to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. The base's F-35 joint strike fighters were moved into hangars to protect them from the storm.

[Updated 4:51 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac's maximum sustained winds have increased from 75 mph to 80 mph, gusting to 100 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. Isaac remains a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Isaac's eye was about 30 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 105 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, with hurricane-force winds measured 60 miles out from its center.

[Updated 4:46 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 formed in the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said. It appears to pose no threat to land at the moment.

[Updated 4:39 p.m. ET] The airports in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama; are closed. Additionally, all Amtrak service into and out of New Orleans is suspended.

[Updated 4:06 p.m. ET] Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi said water is rising rapidly in the southern part of the state as heavy rains from Isaac come ashore.

"Even if it is not mandatory, we are saying now is the time to evacuate low-lying areas," he said.

[Updated 3:54 p.m. ET] Seismic technology is being used to measure the progress of storm surge along the Gulf Coast.

[Updated 3:37 p.m. ET] Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, officials have issued a curfew from Tuesday evening to sunrise Wednesday.

[Updated 3:06 p.m. ET] The American Red Cross says anyone in emotional distress over the storm can call  1-800-985-5990 for crisis counseling.

[Updated 2:56 p.m. ET] An outer rain band of Isaac has been sheared from the northeastern flank of the circulation and is moving very slowly over the Carolinas, hundreds of miles from the storm's center.  As much as 3.5 inches of rain fell in just 90 minutes in Charleston, South Carolina, and is causing major flooding in some locations.

"We were stranded and had to be rescued ourselves," said Tracy Amick, spokesperson for Charleston County. "Our car had water coming through the doors. It's ridiculous right now. There are trash cans floating down the street, cars stuck, people trying to get through these flooded streets on bicycles ..."

A flash flood warning for Charleston has been extended until 5:30 p.m. ET as some roads have become impassible and flood waters will be very slow to recede with high tide approaching.

[Updated 2:42 p.m. ET] Extensive efforts have been made in the past seven years to better protect the New Orleans area from hurricane damage.

[Updated 2:13 p.m. ET Tuesday] In what appears to be the first reported case of looting associated with Isaac, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office says it has issued a summons for a Slidell, Louisiana, area man and is looking for two others, The Times-Picayune reports.

The men are sought in connection with the looting of several boats that were docked in Slidell on Monday night, the paper reported.

"If someone loots a business or home in St. Tammany Parish, the full force of this sheriff's office will be dedicated to finding them, putting them in jail, and making sure they are charged to the full extent of the law," Sheriff Jack Strain said in a news release.

[Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET Tuesday] The National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. ET update says Isaac looks much the same as it did at 11:20 a.m. It remains a hurricane with winds of 75 mph.

It is now about about 55 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 135 miles southeast of New Orleans. It continues to move northwest at 10 mph.

A hurricane remains in effect from east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama border, and a hurricane watch is in effect between Morgan City and Intracoastal City, Louisiana, the hurricane center says.

[Updated 1:43 p.m. ET Tuesday] President Barack Obama has signed an emergency declaration for the state of Mississippi.

[Updated 1:42 p.m. ET Tuesday] The U.S. Coast Guard is searching the coast of Pensacola, Florida, for a missing jet skier whose wife reported him missing Monday night.

As Hurricane Isaac builds, "the increasing winds and seas make search conditions extremely difficult and unsafe for aircrews," Coast Guard spokesman Timothy Williams says. "As Isaac approaches, Coast Guard aircrews will temporarily suspend their search efforts until the storm passes and weather conditions become safe enough to resume the search."

[Updated 1:38 p.m. ET Tuesday] Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has a succinct warning for those who might try to capitalize on the storm: Don't even think about it.

A state of emergency has been declared, and the state's price-gouging and looting laws are in full effect, Strange told CNN affiliate WKRG-TV.

Gougers can be fined up to $1,000 and risk losing their business licenses, while looters could be slapped with a Class C felony, up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, WKRG reports.

“I urge our citizens to be cautious of those who would prey upon them through crimes such as price gouging, looting and home repair fraud. I warn the criminals that if they do so, they will be punished," Strange said.

[Updated 1:15 p.m. ET Tuesday] Angela Young, a resident of New Orleans East, which was hit particularly hard by Katrina and is still struggling to recover, says she has plenty of supplies - including food, batteries and non-perishable food - and intends to stay at home during Isaac.

She's paying special attention to announcements from parish officials and the mayor.

"They're saying that we're going to be OK, so I trust that we're going to be fine," she said.

[Updated 1:09 p.m. ET Tuesday] Harrison County, Mississippi, which already has issued a curfew from this evening through Wednesday morning, is now ordering evacuations in low-lying areas, CNN affiliate WLOX-TV reports.

"Our first priority is the safety of our citizens. We are concerned about anyone who might be stranded without access to any help," Harrison Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy told the station.

"Please realize that if you choose to remain in an area that's under a mandatory evacuation, our responders may not be able to reach you in case of a medical emergency or unexpected flooding," he added. "Please take the safest course for the duration of this storm."

[Updated 1:06 p.m. ET Tuesday] A tornado warning was issued for some areas in Southeastern Louisiana, including Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish, Slidell and Eden Isle, according to the National Weather Service. Southwestern Hancock County in Mississippi is also included.

The warning will last until 12:15 p.m. CT.

[Updated 12:46 p.m. ET Tuesday] Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, reminds Gulf Coast residents that despite concerns about the Isaac's winds, a storm's "water components are often the more deadly and sometimes the more damaging."

With potential storm surge of 6 to 12 feet in some areas and Isaac threatening to dump up to 20 inches of rain as it slows down over land, there is an increased threat of inland flooding in the next few days, Knabb said.

"It's not just going to be a coastal event," he said.

[Updated 12:38 a.m. ET Tuesday] Tropical storm-force winds are already battering areas as far out as 185 miles from Isaac's eye, including the coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm, which is presently moving at 10 mph, is expected to slow down, which could mean bad news in some areas, as it will allow Isaac to dump heavier rains.

The hurricane center says 14 inches of rain could fall on some locales, while parts of southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle could see up to 20 inches.

[Updated 12:31 p.m. ET Tuesday] According to an updated statement from the National Hurricane Center, issued at 12:20 p.m. ET, reports from an Air Force craft indicate Isaac's winds have surpassed the 74-mph threshold necessary to classify a storm as a hurricane.

The storm remained about 160 miles southeast of New Orleans and was moving northwest at about 10 mph, according to the updated statement. The central pressure had lowered to 975 mb, slightly below the 11 a.m. ET reading of 976 mb. Lower pressure means stronger winds.

[Updated 12:26 p.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is now a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles an hour, the National Hurricane Center says.

[Updated 12:24 p.m. ET Tuesday] In Biloxi, Mississippi, the nasty memories of destruction seven years ago is prompting many residents to evacuate, despite projections that Isaac will not be nearly as strong as Katrina.

Residents are packing up and leaving town, schools and government offices are closed until Thursday and police and emergency responders are out"in full force," according to CNN affiliate WPLG-TV. Many houses have already been boarded up, and some residents were seen sawing wood and drilling down boards over their windows, the station said.

David Wallis, who lived through Katrina, picked up his and his wife's prescriptions before leaving town. He recalled how difficult it was to obtain the most basic of goods after Katrina.

“That was a big issue last time: water and ice. There was no water and ice for days. You can do without the electricity and stuff for a few days, but gotta have that water," he told WPLG.

[Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET Tuesday] In case you missed it earlier, CNN has updated its checklist of things you should have on hand as you prepare for the storm. Also, Eatocracy has put together a story on "disaster dining," which includes tips on preparing your fridge for the storm, along with advice on how to make sure you don't run out of food, coffee or, if you're so inclined, booze.

[Updated 11:57 a.m. ET Tuesday] We have some video now of President Obama's speech earlier today, in which he warned Gulf Coast residents "not to tempt fate."

[Updated 11:53 a.m. ET Tuesday] Shrimper Dean Blanchard says he will ride out Isaac from his specially built home in Grand Isle, Louisiana, which has been through a few hurricanes in the past.

He says it's easier to stay put than to leave and try to come back when police are working to protect residents not only from the aftereffects of the storm but also looters.

"We expect a little wind today, and we'll probably get a little rain late on and get ready for tonight, see what Mother Nature got ins store for us," he said.

[Updated 11:43 a.m. ET Tuesday] Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner says the state has been preparing for Isaac for a week, and officials will be on the coast later Tuesday to make sure first responders have everything they need to keep residents safe.

[Updated 11:37 a.m. ET Tuesday] The U.S. Postal Service has suspended delivery and retail operations in about a dozen area codes in anticipation of Isaac's arrival. The USPS also announced mandatory evacuations in certain locations and instructed employees in some rural areas to report to other retail centers.

A detailed list of cities affected is available from CNN affiliate WGNO-TV.

[Updated 11:14 a.m. ET Tuesday] Harrison County, Mississippi, which lies in the Gulfport/Biloxi area has put a curfew in place from 7 p.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. The county opened shelters at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

[Updated 11:10 a.m. ET Tuesday] The Army Corps of Engineers is about to close the gate to the world's largest pump station, the West Closure Complex, in New Orleans, a Corps spokesperson says. It will be the first time the flood gates have been closed since being constructed. The system was installed after Katrina.

[Updated 11:06 a.m. ET Tuesday] The National Hurricane Center says Isaac is about 165 miles southeast of New Orleans and about 80 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is moving northwest at about 10 mph, and the storm's center is on track to hit Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday evening.

The storm should be a hurricane by then, the center says, and will slowly weaken after making landfall. As of 11 a.m. ET, the central pressure remained at 976 mb, the same as it was at 8 a.m. ET.

[Updated 11 a.m. ET Tuesday] Tropical Storm Isaac has yet to reach hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. ET advisory. The storm has winds of about 70 mph.

[Updated 10:49 a.m. ET Tuesday] President Barack Obama called on Gulf Coast residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is close to hurricane status as it heads toward land.

"Now's not the time to tempt fate," he said. "Now's not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."

[Updated 10:38 a.m. ET Tuesday] Are you awaiting Isaac's arrival? If so, please send your photos, videos and stories to iReport and let us know what you're seeing. Thanks!

[Updated 10:31 a.m. ET Tuesday] iReporter Eileen Romero is staying put in New Orleans for Isaac, just as she did for Katrina seven years ago. She shot several photos Monday of people boarding up their businesses and homes and said Tuesday that there were long lines at the gas stations that still had gas to sell.

Anxiety is high in the Crescent City as some prepare to stay and others attempt to evacuate, she said. The Wednesday anniversary of Katrina's landfall doesn't help.

"At the forefront of people's minds is the damage sustained during the catastrophic flooding after the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina," she said. "Talk about PTSD."

While the Corps of Engineers insists the levees are stronger than they were seven years ago, Romero has her doubts given that "inherent engineering flaws and governmental incompetence is what led to the levee failures in the first place."

Despite her lack of faith in its leaders, she loves her city, she said.

"NOLA is home, and there is no place like it in the world," she said.

[Updated 10:17 a.m. ET Tuesday] The Mississippi Gaming Commission has notified Biloxi and Gulfport casinos that they need to get gamblers off the floor within the next 45 minutes. Gaming floors should be shut down by 4 p.m. CT, the commission says.

[Updated 10:11 a.m. ET Tuesday] A Coconut Grove, Florida, man came within inches of losing his life when a decades-old Royal Poinciana crashed down on his car after suffering storm damage.

James Kaplan told CNN affiliate WSVN-TV that he was headed to work when the tree - which is estimated to be about 50 years old - hit the driver's side roof of his car, just above the windshield.

The tree smashed the windows, broke a mirror and buckled the frame of the car, but Kaplan's only apparent injuries were scratches on his left ear, even though he said the roof of the car made contact with his head.

Kaplan joked with the WSVN crew that came to his house: "I kind of thought when you were at the door with the camera at the door, it was Mercedes wanting to do a commercial."

[Updated 9:58 a.m. ET Tuesday] The New Orleans Saints have already left town ahead of their midweek preseason game, their last before the regular season begins. According to the team's website, the Saints left at 5:30 p.m. CT Monday for Cincinnati, Ohio, where they will practice Tuesday before heading to Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday.

The Saints play the Tennessee Titans on Thursday evening and will depart for New Orleans following the game, the team said.

[Updated 9:53 a.m. ET Tuesday] As the Southeast United States deals with Isaac, Typhoon Bolaven is bringing high winds and torrential rains to the Korean Peninsula. Already, several people are missing, fishermen have been killed, scores of flights have been canceled and almost 200,000 homes are without power.

[Updated 9:38 a.m. ET Tuesday] To elaborate on the mayor's remarks, New Orleans' levees have seen $10 billion in improvements since 2005, and the pump stations have backup generators in case of power outages. One station is the biggest in the world, capable of moving 150,000 gallons of floodwater per second.

"This is the best system that the greater New Orleans area has ever seen," said Col. Ed Fleming of the Army Corps of Engineers.

For more specifics, here is a detailed explanation of how the system works.

[Updated 9:27 a.m. ET Tuesday] As of Tuesday morning, it was too late to evacuate New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, but many residents are expressing confidence that Isaac will not bring the destruction that Katrina's 125-mph winds wrought years ago. Plus, residents said, law and order in the city has improved.

"We're confident that the work we've done in the last few years makes us fully capable of handling this type of storm," the mayor said.

Jackie Grosch had to rebuild her home in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, but the St. Bernard Parish resident said she was going to wait Isaac out. She and her family had a generator, weather radio and life jackets on hand "just in case."

She expressed confidence in the new levees near her home.

"I don't know if it's going to be a true test because they're saying it's not going to be that bad. But you never know what bad is. We didn't think Katrina was going to be bad, either," she said.

[Updated 9:06 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac's center was located about 105 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to the National Hurricane Center's last advisory at 8 a.m. ET. The central pressure was 976 mb, just slightly lower than it was at 7 a.m. ET. The lower the pressure, the stronger the winds around the eye of the storm.

The hurricane center is predicting storm surges of 6 to 12 feet in Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi, 4 to 8 feet in Alabama, 3 to 6 feet in south-central Louisiana and along the Florida Panhandle and 1 to 3 feet along Florida's west coast to the Apalachee Bay.

[Updated 8:56 a.m. ET Tuesday] FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate tells CNN that the federal government is working proactively with state governors to make sure they have everything they need as Isaac approaches.

"We don't wait for disasters to be declared," he said.

[Updated 8:50 a.m. ET Tuesday] As the storm approaches, we have a couple of stories that may help you prepare. The first is a checklist of things you need to do as the storm approaches as well as a list of supplies you might need. The second is a rundown of six mobile applications that can help you track Isaac.

[Updated 8:44 a.m. ET Tuesday] In Lauderhill, Florida, the city is handing out sandbags to help residents protect their homes after Monday's downpours, CNN affiliate WFOR-TV in Miami reported.

“We’re in one of the unfortunate communities in Lauderhill where the water unfortunately didn’t recede and the canals are overflowing,” resident Scott Colbert told the station. “I’ve got about 3 feet left before the water comes in to my garage.”

[Updated 8:35 a.m. ET Tuesday] President Obama will deliver a statement on Tropical Storm Isaac at 10 a.m. ET from the Diplomatic Reception Room of The White House, according to his office.

[Updated 7:53 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac has yet to reach hurricane strength, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. ET advisory. The storm's maximum sustained winds were at 70 mph, just below the Category 1 hurricane speed of 74 mph.

[Updated 7:25 a.m. ET Tuesday] A survey for the motorist group AAA showed that the national price for a gallon of regular gas crept up 0.6 cent to $3.756 overnight as Gulf coast oil and refining facilities were closed in anticipation of Isaac's landfall, CNNMoney reports.

Steeper prices increases were recorded in the Gulf states preparing for the storm, with gas jumping 2.5 cents to $3.642 a gallon in Louisiana, a little more than 2 cents to $3.563 in Mississippi, and 1.3 cents to $3.581 in Alabama.

[Updated 7:09 a.m. ET Tuesday] Some inland areas could see as much as 20 inches of rain from Isaac, said Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center. The storm's slow movement could make the rainfall worse and increase chances for flooding, he said.

[Updated 7:01 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac has developed an eye in the last few hours, indicating the storm is becoming more organized, and the central pressure is now down to 977 mb, which is the lowest pressure that has been recorded during Isaac’s life cycle. The latest intensity forecast indicates Isaac could become a Category 1 hurricane this afternoon with winds sustained at 80 mph.

[Updated 6:48 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is threatening Louisiana agriculture, including a record corn harvest, according to the LSU AgCenter.

One third of that crop is still in the fields, said LSU AgCenter feed grain and cotton specialist John Kruse, because drought conditions have brought down Mississippi River water levels, meaning barges that transport the grain can't be fully loaded.

“Everyone was bringing in more corn than normal, and there was just nowhere to put it,” Kruse said in a press release. “So things slowed down dramatically.”

Cotton is also under threat, Kruse said in the release, with much of the crop two weeks to a month away from picking.

“This storm could really tear up our cotton crop," Kruse said.

Losses are also expected in the state's soybean and sugarcane crops, the center said.

[Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac has closed at least six casinos in Louisiana, CNN affiliate WDSU reports.

[Updated 6:22 a.m. ET Tuesday] Tropical Storm Isaac is curtailing oil production along the Gulf of Mexico and threatening refineries, which could send gasoline prices up another 10 cents in the coming week, CNNMoney reports.

[Updated 6:15 a.m. ET Tuesday] Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is closed Tuesday with no flights scheduled.

The airport said on its website it will not be open as an evacuation shelter and only passengers with tickets will be allowed to use parking garages on Tuesday.

A state-by-state look at storm preparations

[Updated 5 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is still a tropical storm and is 125 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving northwest at 12 mph.

[Updated 4:35 a.m. ET Tuesday] The top sustained winds early Tuesday morning are 70 mph. The storm is expected to become a hurricane today.

soundoff (440 Responses)
  1. norma

    Maybe this hurricane season one will come that's large enough to utterly destroy New Orleans and spare us the expense of rebuilding that shlthole every few years.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DaveB

    Cant wait to see how Obama Bin Laden will respond to this one...

    August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • NeauxDoubt

      I bet a heck of a lot better than that s%#t head Buh.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sputnick1

      Sir....why not tale a trip to NL. Hopefully you will drown.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • No way the Red States want Gov't help!

      Funny that you'd bring up Bin Laden. You do realize that your President elliminated the terrorist right? Yes, President Obama, killed Bin Laden, something that Bush was unable to do because he "wasn't really worried about him" anymore. You see, Obama happens to use intellect to solve problems. Bush couldn't spell intellect. Obama actually cares about the poor and middle class, Bush didn't give a hot f@#k about anyone other than his rich, white, cowboy friends. So you can in your own limited way try and make fun of President Obama, but the truth is this; you know that he's more competent, caring, and capable than Bush ever was. New Orleans should be thanking the Saints that a real leader is in office this time around and not the spoiled rich boy.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie Mac

      Anything will be better than what Bush did.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. debbie nickles

    When your on your roofs and have no way out, don't cry that your not getting any help. Your the ones that wanted to ride it out remember?

    August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GMoney

    Hurricanes love to party, New Orleans is an ideal place...

    August 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No way the Red States want Gov't help!

    I find it ironic that the States whose Governors refused aid from the Government (of which they work for) would take aid from FEMA. Since they are so damn self reliant and don't need "no socialism", then make it happen. Good luck with Isaac and any other forces that aim your direction. I am a resident of Texas and I live amongst some of the stupidest people in the country. I hear their racist hatred and deal with it daily. If a 'cane should hit Galveston again and decimate our coast like Ike did in 2008, don't call on FEMA, call on your insurance companies for help. If you don't have insurance, well–shoulda planned better. I come from the idea that you reap what you sow. If you sow hate and greed, well you shall reap the rewards of dealing with State Farm, Farmers, Allstate and the other corporate giants that willingly take your money, but when it comes time to pay, find all kinds of loopholes to keep them from giving up the dough. I actually get a kick out of watching stupid people shoot themselves in the foot. I am getting my popcorn ready now; the after Isaac show will begin shortly.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TparTpatriot

    This is it! Obama's Katrina! Thank you God for making it happen now before the election so that Obama will lose! I pray the backlash will also affect all of the other democrats too!

    August 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • jcjet2

      The former governor would not allow the trucks filled with supplies into NOLA after Katrina. She made bush wait 24 hours. This was caught on national TV.How soon you forget
      Because FEMA was accused of dropping the ball in Katrina, the media and Congress commenced to study this agency. What came out of the critical look was that FEMA was spending 12 times more for "black operations" than for disaster relief. It spent $1.3 billion building secret bunkers throughout the United States in anticipation of government disruption by foreign or domestic upheaval. Yet fewer than 20 members of Congress , only members with top security clearance, know of the $1.3 billion expenditure by FEMA for non-natural disaster situations.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy's Mommy

      Obama notified FEMA to be on standby well before the storm has even hit...wheras Bush waited until the devestation began...nope. you're wish will fail.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Fingers crossed for my fellow Americans in LA.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mitt the Twit

    Too bad Palin and Trump are not attending the GOP convention. I am sure they would have found a way to blame Obama for this in their speeches.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Woody

    The reality is New Orleans never completely recovered from Katrina and I was running in and out of New Orleans during Katrina . A president does not create the hurricanes but rather has some power over what happens after the hurricane . We need a president that relies less on magic and more on elbow grease and reality . Good luck New Orleans we saw what happened with the Republican administration the last time . I saw it for myself and did not have to rely on any news that was censored .

    August 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Tebow will Save NOLA

      Might as well. We know Obama won't.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy's Mommy

      Obama has ALREADY done more prioe to Isaac than Bush did immediately after...or for years after that... lmoa. Sux to be you.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Victim

    Go Isaac, Go!

    August 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Debbie Moore

    New Orleans, Stop your sins against God.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • New Orleans

      OK, I'm sorry

      August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polopoint

      Go mind your own sins.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kat

    As of 12:48PM EST a Cat 1. If it is still projected to hit the area late this evening or early Wed it could very well turn into a Cat 2. People be safe!

    August 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Tebow will Save NOLA

      Not powerful enough!!!!

      August 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jimdog33

    And here comes the gas prices jack up... still wondering how a few day event like a hurricane can drastically affect gas prices this way. Gas which has already been refined & produced from the gulf oil, stored & transported to all the gas stations.

    How does a 3-5 day event like this impact oil/gas reserves which have been sitting for months? That's the gas being delivered & consumed. Once the hurricane is gone, re-stock the reserves as per normal process.

    oh that's right... 5 days of shut down oil rigs means loss of profit for big oil & gas... pass the hit to the consumers. Gotcha!

    August 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Exactly! When Obama was running I remember him saying how he'd get to the bottom of why this happens, why we see windfall profits by oil companies. I'm still waiting for him to make good on this promise (doubtful though).

      Bottom line is it's price gauging, fuel is inelastic, no matter the price, consumption remains constant, nearly every other commodity has simple supply & demand to set the price, but with fuel, the higher the price, consumption remains flat.

      Oil companies know this and use any and every excuse to raise prices early, and lower prices back down late (if at all).

      August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Tebow will Save NOLA

      The Justice Dept is currently run by one of the most crooked humans ever to serve in Gov't so I wouldn't hold my breath for anything to happen.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Come on over to my place Norm and I'll show you what a tea bag really looks like.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greg

    I wonder if hedge fund managers are going to short NOLA real estate like they did during Katrina, making billions in credit default swaps.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      You can rely on it...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polopoint

      "short New Orleans real estate"??

      August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      I meant to say mortgage backed securities.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
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