Hurricane Isaac came ashore last night in Louisiana and never left, at least not yet anyway. While "only a category 1" hurricane, this storm is inflicting major damage on sections of the Gulf Coast. Problems began shortly after Isaac made its first land fall at 6:45PM CMT, with power outages mounting continuously throughout the region and the evening. Currently there are more than 600,000 people without power in Louisiana. Isaac is still inflicting damage on the coast more than 18 hours after arriving. The real problems began when Isaac stalled off the coast prior to it's second landfall. From the beginning this was predicted to be a LDE or" Long Duration Event". It has been just that, loitering over Louisiana with hurricane force winds and steady pelting rain going on 14 hours now.
Seven years to the day after the Category 5 Hurricane Katrina, this storm is providing that terrible "deja vu" feeling to many residents. Some Louisianans who roadout Katrina were not so lucky this time, namely in the Plaquemins Parish area. An older back levee was either "over washed" or breached, flooding many homes and businesses. More than 75 people had to be rescued from their roofs and or attics by boat. Plaquemines Parish President, Bill Nungesser was the first to sound the alarm that something was not right with the levee system in his parish. Shortly after the first land fall he informed the weather channel that over-washing was occurring on both the Mississippi River levee and a back levee. This is a "non federal" levee system and has not seen the upgrades that other levees had been targeted for. Louisiana and the US Army Corp of Engineers have put more than 14 billion dollars in upgrades, rebuilt levees and hurricane proofing New Orleans.
Again, it has been the sustained nature of this storm that is causing the damage. Some sections of Louisiana will see as much as 20 inches of rain. In addition to this, more than 15 hours of sustained hurricane force winds are wreaking havoc. Add to that the storm surge which has been as high as 11 feet and continuous in some areas. More than 15 hours after making landfall Isaac has finally been downgraded to a tropical storm with winds at 70mph. Here are the current readings on the storm;Winds are at 70mph, the pressure is at 975mbar and it is moving NW at only 6mph. Tornadoes have been reported, coastal flooding, flash flooding are also occurring. Sections of Plaquemines parish are under 12 feet of water.
Mississippi and Alabama have not escaped Isaac's wrath, with Mobile, Alabama and Gulfport, Mississippi reporting damage and strained resources from flooding and winds. Here are some other numbers, there are more than 7,000 people in shelters in Louisiana. 5200 National Guardsman have been deployed. More than 29,000 law enforcement personnel are on duty in New Orleans. It has been reported that the wetlands was losing more than an acre a of land an hour due to erosion. Grand Isle is under six feet of water. Heavy rain is expected to continue for more than 12 more hours. The storm still has it's rotation and "eye" nine hours after making it's second landfall. LDE indeed.
NOLA's storm pumps are working well and it's levees seem to be holding. It is the other parishes along the coast which have been wrecked.