August 27th, 2012
11:17 PM ET

Storm surges up to 12 feet predicted

Thousands of people on the Gulf Coast have been told to leave ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. Forecasters warn the storm will gain strength and is following the path Hurricane Katrina took seven years ago.

The tropical storm was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, though as a much weaker Category 1 hurricane, compared with 2005's monster storm.

Read the full story here.


[Updated 5 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is still a tropical storm and is located 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.


[Updated 11:17 p.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center projected storm surges of 3 to 6 feet for the Florida Panhandle, 6 to 9 feet for the Alabama coast and 6 to 12 feet for the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana shores.

[Updated 10:02 p.m. ET] Here's another way people can help their neighbors, at this location and others:


[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] Mandatory evacuations are under way in the low-lying coastal areas of Mississippi's Hancock County, which includes Bay St. Louis and Waveland.

[Updated 9:18 p.m.] Mississippi residents take note:


[Updated 9:13 p.m. ET] CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has good news and bad news:


[Updated 9:10 p.m. ET] CNN's Anderson Cooper is in New Orleans, ready to bring you the latest on Isaac:


[Updated 9:05 p.m. ET] There will be no flights Tuesday out of the main airports in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the airport in Biloxi, Mississippi, will close at 11 a.m., officials said.

FEMA went to Twitter to offer advice on preparing for and recovering from a storm:


[Updated 8:54 p.m. ET] Billy Nungesser, the Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, president who gained national attention for his outspoken outrage after the 2010 BP oil spill, said the low-lying parish is concerned about the effects of Isaac's storm surge.

"We're still going to be doing battle," Nungesser told CNN affiliate WWL. "We just hopefully can keep it behind the levees."

[Updated 8:37 p.m. ET] CNN iReporter Liz Yavinsky said heavy rain from Isaac flooded streets in West Palm Beach, Florida, where some folks were able to go fishing close to home. See more iReports here.

[Updated 8:20 p.m. ET] Here is contact information for Gulf Coast states' emergency preparedness departments:

For information on Alabama Red Cross shelters, evacuation areas and other disaster-related questions, call 211 or 1-888-421-1266


(225) 925-7500

866-519-MEMA (6362)

[Updated 7:59 p.m. ET] In anticipation of storm surge flooding, Jackson County, Mississippi, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of all areas south of Highway 90, CNN affiliate WLOX reported.

[Updated 6:43 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army is already helping out, and already asking for Isaac-related donations:


[Updated 6:21 p.m. ET] Amtrak has suspended all service into and out of New Orleans Tuesday and Wednesday, but has restored service between Orlando, Tampa and Miami.

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge canceled all classes and other activities Tuesday and Wednesday, as did Tulane University in New Orleans.


[Updated 6:06 p.m. ET] CNN affiliate WLOX in Biloxi, Mississippi, published a list of shelters that are now open or slated to open soon in anticipation of Isaac's arrival.

TIME: Six mobile apps for tracking the storm

[Updated 5:58 p.m. ET] The White House issued this briefing on President Barack Obama's Isaac-related activity today:

This afternoon, President Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on the preparations underway for Tropical Storm Isaac, which the National Hurricane Center has projected could become a Category One hurricane later today. During the briefing, Administrator Fugate provided the President with an update on the resources FEMA has prepositioned along the Gulf Coast to support state and local officials as they prepare and begin to respond. Working with DOD, FEMA has set up Incident Support Bases in Jacksonville, FL and Montgomery, AL to proactively stage supplies closer to areas potentially affected by the severe weather. Additionally, FEMA has deployed response teams to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to support state and local officials and to work to make sure there are no unmet needs. The President directed Administrator Fugate to ensure that FEMA was prepared regardless of the ultimate strength and impact of the storm.

Following the briefing, the President convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. On the call, the President asked Dr. Knabb and Administrator Fugate to provide the Governors and Mayor an update on the storm's track as well as on the resources FEMA has to support their teams. The President made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the Governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each Governor to identify additional needs if they arise.

On the call, the President also informed Governor Jindal that he had approved the Governor's request for an Emergency Declaration for Louisiana ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. The declaration builds on resources already deployed by FEMA and makes Federal funding available for certain emergency activities undertaken by the state to prepare for and respond to the storm.

[Updated 5:08 p.m. ET] Winds in Isaac have increased to 70 mph, just 4 mph short of hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center in its 5 p.m. advisory.  The center also is now forecasting Isaac will be a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds when it makes landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi on Tuesday night.

Keep a hurricane preparation checklist

[Updated 4:59 p.m. ET] FEMA Director Craig Fugate tweeted a reminder that Isaac will affect a wide swath of the South:


[Updated 4:45 p.m. ET] Because of the storm, Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has pushed the start of alligator hunting season back from Wednesday to Saturday.

[Updated 4:08 p.m. ET] According to the federal agency that oversees oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, 78% of oil production in the Gulf is suspended; 346 platforms and 41 rigs have been evacuated.

[Updated 3:55 p.m. ET] About 30 mobile homes were damaged in Vero Beach, Florida, by a tornado that spun off from Isaac, CNN affiliate BayNews9 in Tampa reports.

[Updated 3:46 p.m. ET] CNN affiliate WBRZ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reminds people in the path of the storm to make sure their pets have IDs on them, and that people who need help with their pets can call 311.

[Updated 3:31 p.m. ET] This is New Orleans we're talking about, after all. CNN affiliate WWL reports the downtown Rouse's supermarket is selling record amounts of alcohol today as Isaac approaches.

[Updated 3:15 p.m. ET] A total of 5,640 National Guard members have been called up for active duty in four states in preparation for Isaac's impact; 50 National Guard members remain on active status in Puerto Rico.

[Updated at 2:02 p.m. ET] The northern Gulf Coast can expect a significant storm surge from Tropical Storm Isaac, the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. ET advisory. The storm's maximum sustained winds were at 65 mph in the report. The storm was centered about 280 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving northwest at 14 mph.

[Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET] For the time being, there will be no mandatory evacuation order in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said today.

"There is no indication the circumstances calls for a mandatory evacuation," he said, but he advised those living outside the protection of the levee system to "strongly consider leaving."

[Updated at 1:17 p.m. ET] New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said today that he expects the city to be hit by Isaac as a Category 1 hurricane late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

"We are going to have a hurricane that is going to hit New Orleans," Landrieu said at a press conference.

But he said he did not expect the same level of disaster as when Hurricane Katrina struck the city seven years ago.

“There is nothing that this storm is going to bring us that we do not believe we are prepared to handle,” he said.

But he said residents should not be complacent because Isaac is still forecast to be a danger.

"Execute the plans that you have been working on for a very long time,” he said. “I believe that everything is going to be OK.”

[Updated at 12:46 p.m. ET] More than 4,100 Louisiana National Guard troops have been activated to deal with the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac, Gov. Bobby Jindal says.

[Updated at 12:44 p.m. ET] More than 2,000 prisoners will have been evacuated from facilities in danger areas by the end of Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says.

[Updated at 12:37 p.m. ET] Thirteen Red Cross shelters will be opening for evacuees in Louisiana today, Gov. Bobby Jindal says.

“If anybody is thinking about evacuating, today is the day to do it,” he says.

[Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET] Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says Isaac could drop 10 to 16 inches of rain on parts of his state.

[Updated at 12:32 p.m. ET] Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he will not attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa to deal with the effects of Isaac on his state.

[Updated at 12:19 p.m. ET] Mississippi has activated 1,500 National Guard troops to support emergency operations from Tropical Storm Isaac, CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Why Isaac is different from Katrina - HLN

[Updated at 11:48 a.m. ET] Coastal Mississippi can expect storm surges of 10 to 12 feet, which with a 4-foot high tide, could bring waters up to 16 feet to the coast, Gov. Phil Bryant says in a press conference.

A state-by-state look at Isaac

[Updated at 11:31 a.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center reports little strengthening from Isaac in its 11 a.m. ET update. Maximum sustained winds remain at 55 knots (63 mph).

[Updated at 11:11 a.m. ET] The tornado warning for parts of Orange and Seminole counties in Florida has expired, but the National Weather Service says storms associated with Tropical Storm Isaac may still produce dangerous winds of 40 to 50 mph.

[Updated at 11:06 a.m. ET] The rainfall from Isaac could be a big relief for drought-stricken portions of the U.S., according to a report from Reuters.

[Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET] Tropical Storm Isaac has left tens of thousands of customers in Florida without power, Florida Power and Light reports. Check their power tracker to see where the problems are.

[Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET] Tropical Storm Isaac is curtailing oil production along the Gulf of Mexico and threatening refineries, which could send already rising gasoline prices up another 10 cents in the coming week, CNNMoney reports.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m. ET] The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for parts of Orange and Seminole counties in central Florida.

[Updated at 10:54 a.m. ET] Isaac could produce storm surges of 6 to 12 feet if the peak surge occurs at high tide, the National Hurricane Center says. Areas expected to get the worst of the surge are the coasts of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

[Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET] Tulane University in New Orleans said it is canceling evening classes on Monday and all classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, but in a posting on its website says Isaac should not present the problems that Hurricane Katrina did seven years ago.

"The latest update from Tulane’s weather service indicates promising trends for the New Orleans area regarding lower winds and rainfall associated with Isaac," the website said. "According to the service, the storm differs from Katrina in that is far weaker and is approaching New Orleans from a different angle."

[Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET] In a telephone interview with CNN's Carol Costello, Tim Kerner, mayor of Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, urges residents to comply with evacuation orders, even though Isaac is not expected to be of the strength Hurricane Katrina was seven years ago.

While the winds and storm surge from Isaac are not forecast to be as strong as Katrina, Kerner said residents still put themselves in danger by staying put during the storm.

“What they fail to realize is that if they start getting chest pains or any kind of medical attention that they may need, nobody’s going to be able to get to them,” Kerner said.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET] Tropical Storm Isaac is unlikely to become a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, writes SciGuy Eric Berger on from Houston.

Berger writes that Katrina was a 100-mph hurricane when it was in the position Isaac is now. Katrina was also feeding on warmer water than Isaac has, Berger says.

"Katrina had warmer water, and water warmer at depth, to cross before reaching the coast. As hurricanes move across the surface of an ocean they churn up water, and almost invariably the water at depths is cooler than water at the surface. A storm that churns enough cold water to the surface can choke off its heat source, so if a storm is going to intensify rapidly the water beneath the surface must be warm as well."

[Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET] A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for parts of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, beginning at noon local time, according to the parish's website. Other parts of the parish will be under a voluntary evacuation order, the website says. Schools in the parish are closed until further notice.

[Updated at 9:53 a.m. ET] The cities of Pass Christian and Gulfport in Mississippi were declaring states of emergency on Monday morning, the Biloxi Sun Herald reports.

[Updated at 9:37 a.m. ET] A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, towns of Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria, effective at 9 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) Monday, CNN affiliate WDSU reports.

[Updated at 9:27 a.m.] Alabama's governor has ordered mandatory evacuations for parts of Mobile and Baldwin counties as of 8 a.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) Monday, CNN affiliate WALA reports.

[Posted at 9:15 a.m.] Isaac is beginning to become better organized visually, but remains a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph, moving west-northwest northwest at 14 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. update.

The forecast track remains virtually unchanged and still takes Isaac into the Louisiana coastline, just slightly southwest of New Orleans, as a strong Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph.

Timing of landfall is forecast to be around 2:00 AM EDT Wednesday.  Hurricane warnings remain in effect for areas east of Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida, including the New Orleans metro area, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas. Hurricane watches are in effect from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Morgan City, Louisiana.

soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Zombie Iron Chef America

    Considering the impending disaster about to befall the Gulf Coast, I find the partying and celebrating going on in Tampa to be rather tasteless.

    It's totally fine as the next POTUS will be nearby in Tampa, to then gt to LA to see what's going on while Obama's out on a bus tour in the heartland.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bayousara

    I am very pleased to hear some of the governors/mayors in the states that will be affected by Isaac say what a nice job the feds/states/cities involved have done and are doing to deal with this potential disaster. And I have no doubt that all is in place. This is a far cry from George W. Bush's miserable failings in New Orleans during Katrina when 1,800 people died. It was the worst disaster "preparation" I have heard of in my 70-plus years. I toured the Ninth Ward in New Orleans in 2008 and took several hundred photos and interviewed a number of the residents concerning their experiences with Katrina and the sham that was the "help" they got then. We all saw it on TV.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathalie

      We are getting ready here in Tennessee. Later in the week wind and heavy rains are forecasted. Like our neighbors, im stocking up on water and canned goods. Also filling up the truck with gas. Prices are supposed to be going up. We hope you folks in Louisianna fare well.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    Wanna bet that they try gun confiscation again?

    August 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BigdaddyUSA

    Quick someone call George Bush and his FEMA friend. New Orleans need their great help again.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KEVIN21261

    This baby is now sitting right in the middle of warm water far away from any land. It is now for the next 6 hours will we see what this storm is going to do.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paulie

    Be safe and heed warnings, people.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • KEVIN21261

      Paulie, since Katrina the govt. is going to be over precatous. Heed their directives, but unless you are in a very flood prone area, I wouldn't worry to much about this storm unless it decides to stall over the gulf for 24+ hours

      August 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    People of the United States of America and MSNBC Move Forward Liberals,
    Everyone needs to have a really check on what has happened to the U.S. and to compare the current Presidents original qualifications to be President and Gov Mitt Romney.If you listen to the MSNBC commentors,your had to serve as Treasury Secratary,Secratary of State,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of Homeland Security,President Obama had no real experience in any of these areas an was only a Senator from IL. who barely voted in the U.S. Senate.Mitt Romney was a successful Business Man, and at least was Governer of the state of MA.
    In 2008 ,this country was in major trouble and the people elected somebody with zero,nada experience in problem solving an has "Floundered Around" for 31/2 years and the situation has not really improved,

    August 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Can You Read?

      Frank, whom I assume is a resident of The United States Of America:
      Lose your way? this is about a hurricane, not your hatred of liberals. That thread is thataway-------->

      August 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I also eat pizza.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bayousara

      Thank you, CanYouRead for your comment. I will let it stand and not post mine.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KEVIN21261

    If anything I think this storm is going to be a positive thing to the lower mid-west to give them the rain they desperatly need.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James Bond

    Take your guns, then what? wake up, your rights are about to dissapear

    August 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick Akin

    Just wanted to let you folks know.... Katrina did not hit New Orleans . It had a direct hit on Waveland, Mississippi. Your concentration on New Orleans is sickening. A 30 foot wall of water hit the Mississipii Gulf coast and all of you talk about is the devestation of New Orleans....Oh, by the way... let's blame Bush for Issac.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. G2231rshu4

    this storm may or may not be seriosly dangerous. but just to be on the safe side , EVACUATE.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      And don't forget to give up your guns!

      August 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nathalie

    I may take off Thursday and Friday just in case things get rough. Lots of people here have boarded up their windows. I'm worried about looters myself. They say they really aren't sure yet of the storms path. Here in Nashville, we are getting ready.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nathalie

    I think we didn't get the Katrina coverage here in Tennessee because we are just normal middle class working folks. People need to remember there are other places than just NewOrleans.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saiba farick

    i think we need some seriuos evacuation orders in west metarie

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KalifUni

    Obama is a cold-hearted, calculating, hateful human being. He cares about nothing but power, and he intends to yield it as long as possible to bring this colonizing nation down. His father hated the west, and taught Barry to hate it as much. He doesn't give a damn about the poor, the rich, the middle class. He wants all of America to suffer. He sees all of you as the 1% of the world, and it's time to give back what we "stole". Forget the fact that the creation of America has lead to defeating evil in 2 world wars, and generating prosperity through innovation and personal liberty like the world has never seen. That is why people flock here. That is why people that are not free long to come here. That is why so many countries that have come out of the fearful grip of communism and socialism and dictatorships try to model themselves after America. Ask any one of these people that have come here, and they are scared to death of Obama. They see us heading to a way of life they left. If you don't believe this, you are a mind-numbed robot of the liberal propaganda machine, and I pity you.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caccitore

      You are extreely r own dam self, and you need to get off your stupid soapbox because THIS THREAD IS ABOUT A HURRICANE< not your teakoolaidparty. Scare tactics? How silly and mundane! YAWN!

      August 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caccitore

      You are extremely biased your own dam self, it should say.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      KalifUni...just wondering, what color is the sky in your world?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6