Tropical Storm Isaac closed in on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast yesterday, triggering some mandatory evacuation orders and disrupting U.S. 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 was expected to gain hurricane force and could reach land tonight or early tomorrow, which marks the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents of potentially life-threatening flooding, or storm surge, from Isaac totaling up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) in some areas.
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“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.”
“It is quite ironic that we have a hurricane threatening us on the seventh anniversary of Katrina,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a news conference.