Late on Monday night U.S. time, storm forecasts were updated for Tropical Storm Isaac to turn into a Category 2 hurricane. The storm’s expected path will see it cross the Gulf Coast on Tuesday or Wednesday, somewhere between the Florida panhandle and New Orleans. If Hurricane Isaac crosses the coast on Wednesday, it will be 7 years to the day since Hurrincane Katrina hit the area.
At the time of the forecast, the slow moving storm was about 200 miles southeast of the Mississippi River mouth. Rick Knapp, director of the National Hurricane Center, has said that the most serious danger from expected Hurricane Isaac were storm surges, and not necessarily from strong winds.
In light of the ominous forecast, President Obama declared a state of emergency for the whole state. In New Orleans, the levees that were breached by Hurricane Katrina have been rebuilt and are expected to stop an expected surge from Isaac, which could reach 12 feet.
As Climate Central points out, 2 days in the life of a storm is a long time; the forecast could change, and the path of the storm could change. Therefore, Mississippi and Alabama have declared states of emergency for their coasts as well.
Hurricane forecasts can be unreliable, so Isaac could end up being a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, and could reach landfall as early as Tuesday night. Because the storm is slow-moving, it also means that it could take quite a while to pass when it hits the coast. It could bring torrential rain fro 24-36 hours, Bryan Norcross from Weather Underground has said.