New Orleans as Isaac takes direct aim on southeast Louisiana. Plaquemines Parish has had a levee breach at 3:33 am CDT . The breach was confirmed by Homeland Security at 3:51 am CDT. A breach means the levee is being over-topped.
Isaac is turning out to be a more a significant storm than originally expected as the region observes the 7-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Power companies were reporting more than 500,000 without power across the southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
Mayor Landrieu says 70% of New Orleans was without power as of early Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has reported severe wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph since late Tuesday across the area with numerous trees and power lines down. Some isolated locations have reported wind gusts over 100 mph.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said part of the roof of his home on the parish’s west bank had blown off. He described wind-driven rain entering his home as “like standing in a light socket with a fire hose turned on.”
Officials said an 18-mile stretch of levees on the east side of Plaquemines Parish was over topped by storm surge.
Meanwhile, on the Mississippi coast, dozens of roads were closed or impassable due to storm surge flooding and heavy rainfall. Trees and power lines were also reported down across roads.
Highway 90 from Gulfport to Biloxi was reported to be experiencing significant flooding, with up to two feet of water reaching the doors of the Hard Rock Casino early Wednesday.
A significant storm surge of 11 feet was reported at Shell Beach, La, late Tuesday while a surge of 6.9 feet was reported in Waveland, Miss., the NHC reported.
Fire officials reported they were unable to get to a home that burned to the ground amid storm surge flooding in the Bay St. Louis area Tuesday evening.
Isaac came ashore Tuesday night near the mouth of the Mississippi River, then went nearly stationary back out over the coastal waters for several hours before making a second landfall in Grand Isle.
and the surrounding communities of this low lying marshland hurricane vulnerable state. After a series of catastrophic levee failures on August, 30th 2005, a day after Katrina passed it led to mass pandemonium and 1,836 dead.
Later this evening Hurricane Isaac will test the resolve of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to see if the levees they worked on can stand up against the impending 6-12 foot storm surge forecasted by the National Hurricane Center.
A storm surge, is dome of water that is pushed onto the land where onshore flow
pushes the sea inland near the land falling tropical low pressure center. This aspect of Hurricanes is one of the most mortally threatening to humans and wildlife.
Winds have been increasing in Southeast Louisiana as Isaac approaches, up to 60 mph has been recorded by buoys close to the shore. Winds off Lake Pontchartrain have varied around 35 mph from the northwest this afternoon. So far New Orleans (KMSY) is seeing wind gusts up to 40 mph, with light rain.
Before Isaac was a threat to the northern Gulf Coast, it passed through the leeward islands just days ago as a tropical storm, from there it passed just south of Puerto Rico, then the Dominican Republic and eventually turned more northwesterly going over the western peninsula of Hati. Thereafter it hugged the northeastern coast of Cuba missing the mountainous terrain. Moving away from land the center of still Tropical Storm Isaac moved west northwesterly through the Straits of Florida to the south of Key West and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Though the storm never reached hurricane status until earlier today, rainfalls along its path were impressive and its affects were felt far away from the center. Issac dumped 10-20 inches of precipitation along and to the north of its path through the Caribbean, the Straits of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico toward the North Gulf Coast.
Now continuing to strengthen at 6pm CDT, just hours away from landfall Isaac is looking more impressive on satellite. Winds are sustained at 80mph making Isaac a category one on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles and tropical storm force winds of 39-73mph reach 185 miles from the center. Air force Reserve Hurricane Reconnaissance Hunters
measured a recent central pressure of 970 millibars, or 28.64 inches of mercury. Storm surge flooding is already occurring in southeast Louisiana.
Hurricane Season lasts form June1st through November 30th, with the climatological peak on September 9th. Forecasters increased their prediction for the total number of named storms upward to 15-19 storms. If they are right we are only about half way done.
Make sure to monitor the latest tropical weather forecasts or news and be prepared before the storm is at your door. Have a Hurricane Preparedness plan in place for you and your family. The up two week supply of essentials are Canned Foods, Bottled Water, Weather Radio, Batteries, First Aid Kit, Multivitamins, Sunscreen,Extra Cash from ATM’s, Bug Repellant, Flashlights, Other non-perishable food items, extra gas for generators or vehicles as gas stations will not work after a storm passes due to power outages.