Isaac Hits Haiti and Cuba – Makes Landfall in Louisiana

Latest Update: Wed. Aug 29:  NOAA status report

 Tropical Storm Isaac is now forcast to become Hurricane Isaac.  Isaac is projected to have an impact on the Florida Keys as well as bring high winds and pounding rain to a number of locations in Florida proper.  Isaac is still projected to become a Category 2 hurricane producing winds in the range of 100 mph.  The storm is moving more to the west than stated in the initial projections.  From there the storm threatens the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to landfall on the US coast somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and New Orleans as seen on the accompanying NOAA storm track graphic.

 Isaac is already a deadly storm causing at least six fatalities when it hit Haiti which is still recovering from the effects of an earthquake.  Heavy downpours were produced thoughout the country along with similar results in Cuba.   If it gathers force as a result of warm Gulf waters as anticipated it is likely to realize forcasts and strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane.  Lanfall on the US coast is also a distinct possibility currently predicted to hit  somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and New Orleans with impact in Mississippi a distinct possibility.   Storm bands are reaching approximately 200 miles from the center of the storm which will make for widespread impact regardless of the exact landfall. 

It has been seven years since a hurricane has landed on the Gulf Coast.  Iassc will likely break the string of misses.  2005 was a year of 15 hurricanes and seven major storms of Category 3 or higher.  It was the year Katrina struck New Orleans and in conjunction with Hurricane Rita caused over $90 billion in damages in addition to over 1800 fatalities. 

While newer structures are designed for winds in the 100  mph range, there is the distinct possiblilty of damage and building collapse with older structures that have not been designed to current code and those that have unknown weaknesses or are lacking high-wind preparation.  Heavy rains and flooding in various locations are likely if the storm continues as currently forcast.

NOAA Reports:

HURRICANE ISAAC TROPICAL CYCLONE POSITION ESTIMATE
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL       AL092012
700 AM CDT WED AUG 29 2012

…CENTER OF ISAAC WOBBLING INLAND OVER SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA…

AT 700 AM CDT…1200 UTC…THE CENTER OF HURRICANE ISAAC WAS
ESTIMATED NEAR LATITUDE 29.4 NORTH…LONGITUDE 90.5 WEST…OR
NEAR GALLIANO LOUISIANA. THIS IS ALSO ABOUT 20 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
HOUMA LOUISIANA AND ABOUT 50 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF NEW ORLEANS
LOUISIANA. ISAAC IS HAS BEEN STATIONARY DURING THE PAST HOUR…BUT
A GENERAL MOTION TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 6 MPH…9 KM/H…IS
EXPECTED TO RESUME LATER THIS MORNING.

A SUSTAINED WIND OF 55 MPH WITH A GUST TO 70 MPH WAS RECENTLY
REPORTED AT NEW ORLEANS LAKEFRONT AIRPORT.

SUMMARY OF 700 AM CDT…1200 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

FORECASTER STEWART/BEVEN/ZELINSKY

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