Storm threatens to gain strength as it hits Gulf Coast
Tropical storm Isaac closed in on the US Gulf of Mexico coast yesterday, triggering some mandatory evacuation orders and disrupting US offshore oil production as it threatened to make landfall between Florida and Louisiana as a full-blown hurricane.
The large, slow-moving storm swiped south Florida on Sunday before moving into warm Gulf waters. It is expected to gain hurricane force today and to reach land tonight or early tomorrow, the anniversary of devastating Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
The US National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents of potentially life-threatening flooding, or storm surge, from Isaac totalling up to 12 ft (3.6m in some areas.
“The weather will start going downhill overnight tonight on the northern Gulf Coast,” NHC director Rick Knabb told reporters on a conference call. “Wherever it is people are going to be during the storm, they need to get there tonight.” Isaac could potentially take direct aim at New Orleans, which is still struggling to fully recover from Katrina. – (Reuters)