Hurricane Isaac Slams Into Southeastern Louisiana
The National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Isaac made its second landfall early in the morning of August 29 near Port Fourchon, 60 miles southeast of New Orleans, after crossing the Palquemines Parish, where the National Weather Service of New Orleans said a levee was overtopped, causing deep flooding. Isaac, which was classified as a Category 1 hurricane the previous day, hit the region with strong winds and heavy rain and will be the first full test of the flood control systems and emergency services in New Orleans. The storm reached New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Isaac has already caused significant surges and flooding in many areas, some not directly in the storm’s path. The hurricane center reports storm surges of 9.9 feet in Shell Beach, Louisiana, and 6.2 feet in Waveland, Mississippi. The surges are expected to worsen, with forecasters expecting water levels to rise from 6 to 12 feet along the coast of Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana.
Hurricane Isaac is projected to affect coastal regions that have more than $480 billion in insured property, according to AIR Worldwide, although experts say the storm's damage won't reach that amount. While most properties in these areas should withstand the hurricane's impact, flooding may cause most of the storm's damage, experts said. Floodwaters overtopped a levee in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish as the hurricane made landfall, and storm surge inundated many coastal areas in Mississippi.
“It’s something I’ve never seen before,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told the Weather Channel. “I rode out Katrina, and my home has more damage now. It has not let up one time throughout this whole event. The driving rain, all the telephone poles down in Plaquemines Parish. This is not a Category 1 storm.”
Some Drought Relief From Isaac
Hurricane Isaac is expected to bring rain to areas far north of the Gulf Coast and could provide some relief to the drought stricken areas in much of the middle of the U.S. The storm’s projected path will bring rain to Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. According to meteorologists, tropical storms have a greater effect on drought conditions than thunderstorms. Tropical storms result in long, soaking rains, while thunderstorms pass quickly. In their most optimistic forecasts, meteorologists said that Isaac could ease drought conditions by two levels on the federal government’s five level drought monitoring system. Drought conditions can be slow to improve, and one storm would not necessarily make a difference to such long-term conditions as ground water levels.