They say Hurricane Harvey could remain in the area, dumping rain until the middle of next week.
On top of that, the central Texas coast is likely to see a significant storm surge – this happens when low pressure at sea “lifts” tides to a level higher than normal, up to 12ft in this case, and high winds then blow the water in land.
Image source Wikimedia
The NHC said it expected “catastrophic flooding” across the coast and in some inland areas throughout south-east Texas.
Energy companies have been evacuating staff from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Texan oil refineries on land are also shutting down in preparation for the storm. As a result, US fuel prices have reached a three-week high.
Joe McComb, mayor of Corpus Christi, a coastal city of more than 300,000 people, urged householders to take the warnings seriously and evacuate low-lying areas.
“I hope people will listen to forecasters when they say <<beware of flash floods>>,” he said.
“Flash floods can come quickly, and they can be deadly.”
According to the NHC, the wind speed is currently almost 110mph, though gusts are even stronger.
Worldwide, the number of intense tropical storms has increased 80%, according to an article published by Science magazine in 2005.
According to recent studies, while the total number of hurricanes per year did not increase, the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes did sharply increase during the last 35-40 years.
Most researchers agree that the warming oceans are the result of rising amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, also known as global warming. This process occurs when there are high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Global warming and hurricanes are linked because heat essentially is the fuel of these storms. Researchers have described hurricanes as heat engines that draw their energy upward from the warm ocean water to drive their winds; the increase in ocean temperatures is like throwing a log on a fire.
Typhoon Tip, October 1979: largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded with wind speeds of 190mph, killed 99 people in its path across the Pacific, mostly in Japan
Hurricane Allen, August 1980: strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed, with sustained winds of 190mph, caused nearly 300 deaths in Haiti and severe damage in the US state of Texas
Bangladesh cyclone known as 02B, April 1991: at least 138,000 died and up to 10 million made homeless after a 20ft storm surge
Odisha or Paradip cyclone,October 1991: the strongest ever recorded in the northern Indian Ocean, killed about 10,000 people, mostly in India
Hurricane Katrina, August 2005: killed at least 1,836 people after striking states of Louisiana and Mississippi and was the costliest storm in history, causing $81.2 billion in damage (with wind speeds of 175mph)
Hurricane Wilma, October 2005: most intense tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin with wind speeds of 185mph, killing 87 people on its path through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013: the strongest storm recorded at landfall, with one-minute sustained wind speeds of 197mph, it devastated parts of the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people
New Orleans marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with multiple events across the city.
At a memorial service, Mayor Mitch Landrieu recalled how residents had turned to each other for support.
Former President Bill Clinton later spoke at a concert in New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people and displaced one million in 2004. It was the most expensive natural disaster in US history and caused destruction along the Gulf coast.
In New Orleans, the failure of the levee system left about 80% of the city under water.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu led a sombre tribute to the 83 unidentified victims whose bodies lie in mausoleums at the city’s Hurricane Katrina Memorial.
Photo Getty Images
“Though they are unnamed, they are not unclaimed because we claim them,” he said.
“We saved each other,” the mayor added.
“New Orleans will be unbowed and unbroken.”
Residents and community activists also gathered at the levee in the Lower Ninth Ward, where storm waters broke through and flooded the district.
After speeches, a parade took place through the neighbourhood, with some participants in colourful Mardi Gras dress.
Throughout the day, thousands took part in traditional musical parades through the city’s streets.
Former President Bill Clinton later spoke at a free concert at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center.
He said the sheer magnitude of what had been accomplished in rebuilding the city should not be underestimated, but that more work needed to be done so that the lines that divided communities – such as race and wealth – could be erased.
A ceremony was also held at the Superdome arena that housed thousands of displaced people after the storm.
President Barack Obama visited the Lower Ninth Ward on August 27, praising “the extraordinary resilience of this city and its people”.
Although New Orleans has largely recovered from the disaster, some – particularly from the African-American community – feel left behind.
On August 28, former President George W. Bush visited the city. His administration was criticized at the time over its slow response and the issue remains a source of deep resentment in New Orleans.
Ray Nagin, the former New Orleans mayor who was in office during Hurricane Katrina, has been found guilty of corruption.
Ray Nagin, 56, helped contractors secure millions of dollars of work in exchange for bribes, free trips and other gifts.
He was charged in January 2013. The former mayor was found guilty of 20 of the 21 charges against him.
Mayor of the city from 2002 to 2010, Ray Nagin was criticised for failing to implement his evacuation plan when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
Before the verdict was read, Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans federal court that he had been “at peace with this for a long time”.
Ray Nagin was found guilty of 20 of the 21 charges against him
Prosecutors argued during his trial Ray Nagin took at least $500,000 in bribes, beginning before Hurricane Katrina but continuing during the city’s recovery.
The graft included money, free vacations and tonnes of free granite for the stone company Ray Nagin and his sons owned.
In exchange, the local businesses were awarded consulting and construction contracts with the city.
Ray Nagin, a Democrat who served two terms, was his defence lawyers’ chief witness.
During testimony Ray Nagin vehemently denied taking bribes, saying he was bound to approve contracts awarded to the lowest bidder or through a panel recommendation process.
At least four Ray Nagin associates have already pleaded guilty in the case. Defence lawyers also argued the prosecution’s case was built on the testimony of business owners who pleaded guilty in hopes of getting lighter sentences.
Among more than two dozen prosecution witnesses were five people who said they were involved in bribing the former mayor.
Each charge carries a sentence of three to 20 years, but how long he will serve is unclear.
Ray Nagin will remain free on bond but will be monitored, before his sentencing hearing, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Over 60,000 people have been ordered to evacuate an area in the south-east of Louisiana because a dam has been damaged by Hurricane Isaac.
People live downstream of the Lake Tangipahoa Dam in Mississippi, which has been damaged but is currently intact.
Isaac, now a tropical storm, dumped huge amounts of rain in recent days.
Officials are worried the broken dam, some 100 miles (161 km) north of New Orleans, could add to a swollen river.
Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess told local broadcaster WWL that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had ordered buses to the area to help evacuate residents.
Over 60,000 people have been ordered to evacuate an area in the south-east of Louisiana because a dam has been damaged by Hurricane Isaac
Over 7,000 National Guard troops, the US reserve armed forces, have been called into service across four states, the majority in Louisiana.
Bobby Jindal activated all Louisiana Guardsmen on Wednesday, which would bring total forces in the state to more than 8,000. They have helped rescue or evacuate more than 3,000 people in the state since the storm hit.
In the town of Amite, Louisiana, Police Chief Jerry Trabona said officers were going door-to-door to houses along the Tangipahoa River.
On Twitter, Louisiana officials quoted state Governor Bobby Jindal as saying Mississippi was considering a “controlled breach” of the dam to relieve pressure.
Although no longer a hurricane, Isaac still poses a threat to life because of storm surges, floods and tornadoes, the National Hurricane Center says.
At 13:00 local time, Isaac was 25 km (40 miles) south-west of Monroe, Louisiana, moving at 9 mph (15 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm struck New Orleans on Wednesday, on the seven year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the region and killed at least 1,800 people in the Gulf Coast area.
Defence systems built to protect the city passed their first major test, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
But along the shores of Lake Ponchartrain, just north of the New Orleans, dozens of buses and high-water vehicles were sent to evacuate some 3,000 people as waters rose fast – it was waist-high in some areas, the Associated Press news agency reports.
In one of the hardest-hit areas, Plaquemines, local boatmen plucked people from the roofs of their homes, many of whom had remained believing they could ride out what seemed a far smaller storm than Katrina.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing federal funds to be released to local authorities.
By Thursday morning, more than one million residents of Louisiana and Mississippi were without power due to Isaac, according to the US department of energy.
Isaac is expected to move further inland over the next several days before breaking up during the weekend.
The storm killed at least 24 people as it passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic earlier this week.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from New Orleans as Hurricane Isaac makes its slow approach.
Hurricane Isaac will hit the Louisiana city exactly seven years after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but it is a much less powerful storm.
New Orleans has closed its new floodgates in a bid to protect it from the effects of high waters brought by sustained winds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h).
Isaac killed at least 24 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
It has also caused significant flooding and damage across the Caribbean and forced a day’s delay to the start of the Republican party’s congress in Tampa, Florida.
Hurricane Isaac will hit Louisiana exactly seven years after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but it is a much less powerful storm
At 02:00 local time the Category One hurricane was almost stationery about 70 miles (110 km) south of New Orleans, according to the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
Tens of thousands of people have been told to leave their homes in low-lying areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, though a mass evacuation has not been ordered. Storm warnings are also in place in parts of Florida, Texas and Alabama.
Officials say Isaac is likely to weaken before it reaches New Orleans.
“We don’t expect a Katrina-like event, but remember there are things about a Category One storm that can kill you,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Of particular concern are storm surges, with peaks of up to 3.7 m (12ft) forecast in parts of Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. Rainfalls of up to 50 cm (20 inches) are forecast across wide areas, along with a high chance of isolated tornadoes along the coast.
The bowl-shaped city of New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to storms, with the centre of the city the furthest below sea-level.
But Mitch Landrieu said that the 8m-high levee gate which now protects the areas of the city that were badly flooded in 2005 had been closed since Tuesday morning.
Many residents of New Orleans have chosen to secure their homes but stay put, saying they were not too concerned by Isaac.
“I feel safe,” said Pamela Young from her home in the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood devastated by Katrina.
“Everybody’s talking <<going, going>>, but the thing is, when you go, there’s no telling what will happen. The storm isn’t going to just hit here.”
“If the wind isn’t too rough, I can stay right here. If the water comes up, I can go upstairs.”
Nazareth Joseph, who works at a hotel in French Quarter and was in the city during Katrina, said he had a busy week ahead so would stay where he was.
“We made it through Katrina; we can definitely make it through this. It’s going to take a lot more to run me. I know how to survive,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
By Tuesday night, more than 58,000 homes in New Orleans were reported to have lost power. Outages have also been reported across Louisiana and Mississippi, affecting more than 200,000 homes and business.
President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing federal funds to be released to local authorities.
Speaking from the White House, he warned residents along the Gulf Coast to heed warnings, including those to evacuate, saying: “Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.”
Shortly before Isaac reached hurricane status on Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said the emergency declaration fell short of the federal help he had asked for.
Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans is now a hurricane, US forecasters say.
Hurricane Isaac boasting winds of at least 75 mph (120 km/h), is likely to make landfall by Tuesday night.
The storm is expected to hit New Orleans seven years after the much stronger Hurricane Katrina.
US President Barack Obama has warned residents in the path of the storm they should not “tempt fate” and should heed evacuation warnings.
In an update at 13:00 CDT the National Hurricane Center said the storm was 135 miles (220 km) south-east of New Orleans, moving north-west at 10 mph (17 km/h).
Barack Obama has declared an emergency in Louisiana, allowing federal funds to be released to local authorities.
“As we prepare for Isaac to hit, I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials and follow their directions – including if they tell you to evacuate,” Barack Obama said on Tuesday.
Speaking from the White House, he added: “Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.”
Tropical Storm Isaac bearing down on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans is now a hurricane
Shortly after Isaac reached hurricane status, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make a full emergency declaration for the state.
He told reporters that a declaration made on Monday did not allow for the reimbursement for state’s expenses from the storm.
“We have learned from past experiences that you cannot wait and you have to push the federal bureaucracy,” Bobby Jindal, who cancelled an appearance at the Republican National Convention because of the storm, said.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said his city was “officially in the fight” on Tuesday, as he confirmed its airport was closed and would not serve as a shelter.
Mitch Landrieu said that a 26 ft (8 m) high levee gate that now protects the areas of the city that were badly flooded in 2005 – which he dubbed “the great wall of New Orleans” – was closed on Tuesday morning.
“We will not have a Katrina-like event,” he said, adding there will still be parts of the city that will likely be flooded.
“Do not let this storm lull you into complacency,” he said.
“People may be getting bored. It’s better to be bored than to get hurt.”
Officials have not ordered any evacuations, telling residents to reinforce their homes and stock up on supplies instead.
The bowl-shaped city of New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to storms, with the centre of the city the furthest below sea-level.
Residents are hoping that billions of dollars spent on reinforcing flood defences that failed catastrophically in 2005 will hold this time.
Robert Washington, a New Orleans resident, told the Associated Press he does not trust the levees.
He lives in the Lower Ninth Ward, which saw some of the greatest damage after levees broke during Katrina. He planned to evacuate with his family
“I don’t want to take that chance. I saw how it looked after Katrina back here.”
In low-lying Plaquemines Parish, much of which lies outside the New Orleans levee system, a local official told Reuters news agency he was “really worried about the storm surge” – adding that a few more years were needed before flood protections were fully completed.
Isaac has killed at least 24 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and caused significant flooding and damage in the Caribbean.
It largely bypassed the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, but prompted a day-long delay to proceedings there.
The National Hurricane Center warned that a possible combined “storm surge” and high tide would cause flooding in coastal areas along the Gulf Coast.
Water would potentially reach 6-12 ft (1.8-3.7 m) above ground in south-west Louisiana and Mississippi, 4-8ft in Alabama and 3-6 ft in south-central Louisiana.
Isaac is also threatening heavy rainfall of as much as 20 in (51cm) in isolated spots, and could spark possible tornadoes along the northern Gulf Coast.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens to hit the US as a category two hurricane.
Tropical Storm Isaac is heading for New Orleans, possibly as early as Tuesday night, nearly seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
The Republican Party delayed by a day the start of its national convention in Tampa, Florida.
Isaac killed at least 24 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The storm wrought significant flooding and damage in the Caribbean.
Late on Monday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Isaac could reach category two strength, with top winds of 100 mph (160 km/h). The forecast was revised up from category one.
Barack Obama approved Louisiana’s request for a federal disaster declaration, making available federal funds for recovery activities such as clearing debris.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, as Tropical Storm Isaac threatens to hit the US as a category two hurricane
Earlier, the governors of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama declared emergencies in their states.
The Republican governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have cancelled their trips to their party’s convention to focus on disaster prevention efforts.
Isaac is already a large storm and could bring significant damage to areas within hundreds of miles of its centre, officials warn.
The NHC said that at 23:00 EDT on Monday (03:00 GMT on Tuesday), Isaac was centred about 189 miles (305 km) south-east of the mouth of the Mississippi river, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 mph (110 km/h).
The storm is moving forward at about 10mph and storm winds extend out about 205 miles (335 km) from the centre.
The NHC warned that wind speeds could reach between 96-110 mph before the storm makes landfall.
Evacuations have already been ordered for some low-lying Louisiana parishes and parts of coastal Alabama.
Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which strengthened in the Gulf to a category five storm, before weakening to category three by the time it reached New Orleans.
Federal officials said the levees around New Orleans are now equipped to handle storms stronger than Isaac. Levee failures led to the catastrophic flooding in the area after Katrina.
“It’s a much more robust system than what it was when Katrina came ashore,” Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in a conference call with reporters.
Craig Fugate also said that Isaac was not just a New Orleans storm.
“This is a Gulf Coast storm. Some of the heaviest impact may be in Alabama and Mississippi,” he said.
A stream of vehicles left New Orleans on the highway heading west for Baton Rouge on Monday, as people made their way to higher ground.
Linda Grandison, who fled her home in 2005 and waited on a bridge for three days before she was rescued by a helicopter, has also decided to leave early, the Associated Press reported.
“You can’t predict God’s work,” she said.
“This is nerve-wracking. I hate leaving my house, worrying if it’s going to flood or get looted. But I’m not going to stay in the city again.”
Evacuations have already been put in place for Louisiana’s St Charles Parish, near New Orleans, and some areas of coastal Alabama.
A hurricane warning is already in effect for some 300 miles of the Gulf Coast in four states from Louisiana to Florida, with lower-level warnings issued for many areas along Florida’s west coast.
Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters on Monday that 60,000 people were already without power as a result of the storm.
Storm surges of 6-12ft (1.83-3.66m) were possible along the Gulf coast, with the biggest danger in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
As much as 1ft of rain could fall.
US offshore oil production is expected to be badly hit, as are refineries in lowland Louisiana.
As much as 78% of the Gulf’s crude oil production and 48% of its natural gas production had been closed ahead of the storm, government figures showed.
BP and Chevron have shut down oil production in the Gulf, and BP is evacuating its platform there.
Tens of thousands of Louisiana residents have been ordered to evacuate as Tropical Storm Isaac picks up strength in the Gulf of Mexico.
Isaac may strike seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the same area.
More than 50,000 residents of the St. Charles Parish in southeast Louisiana have been told to leave ahead of Isaac, which is currently churning in the Gulf.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Bobby Jindal had also suggested that anyone in low-lying parts of the state’s coastal parishes evacuate.
A hurricane warning has been issued for parts of the state east of Morgan City, which includes the New Orleans area.
Isaac is expected to be a strong Category 2 hurricane when it comes ashore late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of Katrina.
There were fears that Isaac could strike New Orleans with the same deadly force as the monster storm, which wiped out homes and led to the death of nearly 2,000 people.
Tens of thousands of Louisiana residents have been ordered to evacuate as Tropical Storm Isaac picks up strength in the Gulf of Mexico
Meanwhile, Isaac shifted West into the Gulf of Mexico after lashing the Florida Keys with strong winds and heavy rain.
Also on Sunday, Alabama joined Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana in declaring a state of emergency as Isaac looms.
The National Hurricane Center said Isaac was due to be at or near category-two hurricane strength soon after its center crosses the Florida Keys late on Sunday.
The latest forecast takes Isaac into the Mississippi coast with maximum sustained winds from 96 to 110 mph over the next few days.
At least 1,836 people died and cost of the damage was estimated at $110 billion. Forbes reported that Isaac has the possibility to rival Katrina in its destructive power.
A storm becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach a minimum of 74 miles per hour (119 kph).
The NHC said Isaac was expected to intensify to a Category 2 hurricane, with “extremely dangerous” sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (169 kph), as it swept up the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for the northern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle on Sunday.
At 2:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, Isaac was about 50 miles (85 km) south-southeast of Key West and packing top sustained winds of 60 miles (100 km) per hour.
Tropical force winds from the massive storm stretched across 400 miles (644 km), with rain bands extending even further, said NHC meteorologist David Zelinsky.
It meant Isaac could cause significant damage even in places where it does not pass directly overhead.
“It certainly is a large storm,” he said, noting that wind gusts of 60 mph (100 kph) had been detected as far apart as Key West and Palm Beach.
The storm will likely pick up strength from the warm, open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and strike as a dangerous Category 2 hurricane somewhere between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.
Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights as the storm lashed southeastern Florida today. Airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale were hit the hardest, cancelling 573 flights – the vast majority of the 654 U.S. flights grounded overall because of the storm as of Sunday morning.
There were scattered power outages from Key West to Fort Lauderdale affecting more than 6,000 customers, and flooding occurred in low-lying areas.
Isaac has brought havoc to the Caribbean already, killing seven people in Haiti and downing trees and power lines in Cuba.
It had officials worried enough in Tampa that they shuffled around some plans for the Republican National Convention.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will officially be nominated as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate on Tuesday, one day later than originally planned.
His nationally-televised acceptance speech will be on Thursday night as originally planned.
Tuesday evening’s program includes remarks by Ann Romney, the candidate’s wife, as well as by New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, previously announced as the keynote speaker.
Paul Ryan will deliver his acceptance speech Wednesday evening in prime time in the eastern part of the United States, and Mitt Romney’s speech dominates the final night.
In 2012 the names will begin with Alberto, Beryl, Chris, and so on.
The last time Irene name was used was in 2005, the same year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
Like 74 other Atlantic hurricanes, Katrina’s name has been permanently retired to reduce confusion and show respect for those who lost their lives in the hurricane.
All hurricanes that result in extraordinary loss of life have their names retired, and are replaced by another name beginning with the same letter. The name Katrina was replaced with Katia, which will be the name assigned to the 11th hurricane in the 2011 season.
Irene 2005 never hit ashore and only reached Category 2, according to Saffir/Simpson Hurricane scale.
In 2011 Hurricane Irene is expected to reach Category 4 by the time it comes ashore.
Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale
Winds & Effects
74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.
111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
155 mph+ (135+ kt)
18 ft +
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.