RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Hurricane Isaac maintains its Category One strength with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and higher gusts around 100 mph at times. Isaac made its first landfall Tuesday evening at 6:45 PM CDT over the Mississippi River Delta in southeast Louisiana. The center of the storm then snuck back over the waters of the Gulf along the Louisiana coastline, drifting westward slowly.
A second confirmed landfall by Air Force Hurricane Hunter Aircraft and NOAA radar showed the location along the coast of southeast Louisiana just west of Port Fourchon at approximately 2:15 a.m. CDT with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph at Category One hurricane strength.
Overnight, National Ocean Service tide gauges show that storm surge heights along southeast Louisiana and Mississippi coasts have been at 6 to 10 feet. The National Hurricane Center warns, “The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore flow. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.” The latest surge forecast from the NHC is as follows:
Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana: 6 to 12 feet
Alabama: 3 to 6 feet
South-central Louisiana: 3 to 6 feet
Florida panhandle and Apalachee Bay: 2 to 4 feet
Before 4 a.m. CDT, the National Weather Service in New Orleans confirmed that a back levee in Plaquemines was overtopped from the St. Bernard line all the way to White Ditch, which is about an 18 mile stretch. Evacuations began for that region southeast of downtown New Orleans immediately. At 4:45 a.m. CDT, the Plaquemines Parish President confirmed there is 12 feet of water in people’s homes because of the overtopped levee.
The National Weather Service in Mobile, AL expects “3 to 6 feet of inundation along coastal Alabama (including Mobile Bay) with 2 to 4 feet possible in NW Florida.”
7 a.m. CDT update from the National Hurricane Center:
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
Heavy rainfall will continue to affect Louisiana and Mississippi through Thursday, with some storm total accumulations as high as 20 inches (in the bright pink on the map below).
As Isaac chugs inland along the Mississippi Valley region, the forecast scenarios computed by tropical models vary widely, but do indicate much-needed rainfall for parts of the U.S. battling one of the worst droughts in our history.
In addition, Isaac will carry with it the threat of isolated tornadoes in spiral rain bands as Isaac moves slowly inland through Louisiana and Mississippi.