UPDATE 8-30-12 5:30PM PST
Isaac soaked Louisiana for another day and pushed more water into neighborhoods all around the city, flooding homes and forcing last-minute evacuations and rescues. New Orleans itself was spared, thanks in large part to a levee system built after Katrina, reported by a local news station WOIA.
As the storm crept across the state and windy conditions calmed, the extent of some of the damage became clear. Hundreds of homes, perhaps more, were underwater, thousands of people were staying at shelters and half of the state was without power. About 500 people had to be rescued by boat or high-water vehicles, and at least two people were killed.
With more damage expected, officials were releasing water from a dam hoping relieve water at a lake near the Louisianna-Mississippi border. Work is also being continued on a levee breach at Plaquemines Parish. Arkansas also experienced some damage with downed power lines and trees as Issac moved inland.
UPDATE: 8-30-12 10AM PST
It is estimated that more than one million residents of Louisiana and Mississippi are without power on Thursday morning, according to the Department of Energy as reported by Reuters.
Search and rescue operations continue in the heavily flooded areas surround New Orleans; however authorities and residents breathed relief that Issac’s wrath was nothing like Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Issac is expected to be downgraded to a tropical depression today. Widespread areas along the Gulf Coast could still experience heavy rain and flooding as the storm moves inland to the central United States. Residents in the central states will welcome the rain as one of the worst droughts in 50 years has ravaged the area.
Oil rigs began closing down on Tuesday as the hurricane approached, but they are expected start up production, as they the energy platforms and coastal refineries escaped damage.
UPDATE: 8-29-12 8:12AM PST
Areas outside the levee defense network saw flooding, including an 18-mile stretch to the south where up to 12 feet of water invaded streets and homes.
Officials in Plaquemines Parish, where the surge overtopped an 8-foot levee, said National Guardsmen and even residents were trying to rescue people trapped in homes. Up to 60 people appear to be trapped, NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reported from the area. Rescuers earlier pulled several dozen to safety.
"We have flooding, inundated four-to-nine feet in areas on that side" of the levee, parish emergency management official Guy Laigast told the Weather Channel. "We've got homes that have been inundated. We have folks who are trapped in their residences."
Even though the area was under mandatory evacuation, it is estimated that 1,000 residents stayed in their homes.
UPDATE: 8-29-12 7:00AM PST
Hurricane Issac made landfall at 3:15AM ET west of Port Fourchon, which is 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, according to the National Hurricane Center.
This storm is much different than Katrina that hit New Orleans seven years ago today. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rebuilt the levee and floodwall system in the city to withstand storm surge at a cost of $14.45 billion dollars.
The 350 miles of levees and floodwalls surrounding New Orleans were holding back storm surge water as designed early Wednesday, city spokesman Hayne Rainey said. The city had not received any reports of levee breaches or calls for rescues, he said.
"All reports are indicating the federal levees protecting the City of New Orleans are holding," he said.
The storm landed at 3:15 a.m. ET just west of Port Fourchon, about 60 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, said the National Hurricane Center.
UPDATE: 8-28-12 8:00PM PST
Hurricane Isaac came ashore in southeast Louisiana’s swamps about 6:45 p.m. local time, bringing with it gale winds and a powerful storm surge, according to
The storm, which extends about 185 miles (298 kilometers) from its center, touched the coast in Plaquemines Parish just southwest of the Mississippi River’s mouth, the National Hurricane Center reported. Its center was about 90 miles southeast of New Orleans and winds had top speeds of 80 miles per hour.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered in at least eight parishes in the New Orleans area while officials in six others urged residents to leave. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the city is in “the hunker-down phase” at a news briefing. Humvees patrolled the streets. The storm was set to hit the city about 1 a.m. local time.
UPDATE: 8-28-12 11:30AM PST
Hurricane Issac is a category one with winds up to 75 miles per hour with gusts to go higher. It is predicted to strengthen until it makes landfall. The mouth of the Mississippi River and New Orleans is in its direct path. Louisiana is reassuring sustained winds now of 60 miles per hours with gusts to 76 MPH.
The center of the Hurricane is expected to make landfall this evening.
New Orleans is prepared according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Isaac's winds, rain and storm surge could pose a major test of New Orleans' new flood control systems and reinforced levees. Forecasts from the U.S. National Hurricane Center showed the storm coming ashore late on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
"Isaac has finally formed into a hurricane, so we are officially in the fight and the city of New Orleans is on the front lines," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to close for the first time the massive new floodgate on the largest storm-surge barrier in the world, at Lake Borgne, east of New Orleans.
In other preparations, energy companies evacuated offshore oil rigs and shut down U.S. Gulf Coast refineries as the storm threatened to batter the oil refining belt.
UPDATE 8-28-12 7:30AM PST
No changes have been issued by the National Weather Service as Hurrican Issac continues in a path towards New Orleans, Louisiana. A storm surge is expected with winds up to 75 miles per hour. Issac is projected to hit Louisiana at 2AM Tuesday.
Tracking map below shows the projected course of Hurricane Issac as it heads directly for New Orleans, Louisiana on a path inland.
UPDATE: 8-27-12 2:30PM PST
Reconnaissance aircraft indicates Isaac getting stronger... significant storm surge threat expected for the northern Gulf Coast.
Summary from the weather underground:
about 320 mi...515 km SSE of Mobile Alabama
about 255 mi...415 km se of the mouth of the Mississippi River
maximum sustained winds...70 mph...110 km/h
present movement...NW or 305 degrees at 12 mph...19 km/h
minimum central pressure...981 mb...28.97 inches
UPDATE: 8-27-12 8AM PST
CNN reported on Monday morning Isaac was centered about 360 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is forecast to become a hurricane "in a day or so," the National Hurricane Center said.
The governors of the three imperiled states each declared an emergency, with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordering mandatory evacuations for residents who live along the coast and for those in some low-lying areas inland.
"I am urging everyone to take precautions now, monitor weather warnings, and be prepared for whatever Isaac may bring," Bentley said in a statement released Sunday.
Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, calls state of emergency in Louisiana in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac’s path moves west. He suggests that people leave low-lying parts of coastal parishes.
New Orleans and the surrounding areas have still not recovered totally from Hurricane Katrina and are being threatened by another hurricane.
Isaac is expected to be a strong Category 2 hurricane at landfall Wednesday. Grand Isle emergency teams report, and the the mayor ordered evacuation Sunday for campers and tourists and Monday for residents.
Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes all have declared a state of emergency, according to an AP report.
St. Charles Parish schools have been declared closed through Wednesday.
The official NOAA report:
The government of the Bahamas has discontinued the tropical storm
Warning for the northwestern Bahamas.
The government of Cuba has discontinued all watches and warnings.
The tropical storm watch from north of Sebastian inlet to Flagler
Beach is discontinued.
The hurricane warning is changed to a tropical storm warning for the
Florida keys including the dry Tortugas and Florida bay.
The hurricane warning for the west coast of Florida from Bonita
Beach southward to ocean reef is changed to a tropical storm
The hurricane watch is changed to a hurricane warning for the
Northern gulf of mexico coast from east of Morgan city Louisiana to
Destin Florida...including metropolitan New Orleans...lake
Pontchartrain...and lake manropes.
The tropical storm warning from Suwannee river to tarpon springs is
Summary of watches and warnings in effect...
A hurricane warning is in effect for...
* east of Morgan city Louisiana to Destin Florida...including
Metropolitan New Orleans...lake Pontchartrain...and lake Maurepas
Ironically, Issac is predicted to arrive on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, which marks the seventh anniversary of the Storm of the Century — Hurricane Katrina. Much has been written and said regarding the lingering effects of the disaster, plans for rebuilding the cities, the fairness of the disbursement of funding and resources. Changes in the shift in demographics since many who left could not return.