ooming: Tropical storm Isaac gathers pace as it barrels towards the Florida coastline today

Tens of thousands of Louisiana residents have  been ordered to evacuate as Tropical Storm Isaac picks up strength in the Gulf  of Mexico – and it 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.

ooming: Tropical storm Isaac gathers pace as it barrels towards the Florida coastline today
Get ready: Shoppers clear out at supermarket of bottled water in Miami, Florida as the state prepared for a category-two hurricane
Lashed with rain: Two young boys walk down a flooded street in Jaquimeyes town, Dominican Republic on Saturday after the pass of Isaac led to downpours
Filling up: Tampa residents wait to fill up their cars before the storm hits; Isaac is forecasted to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a hurricane on Tuesday
Aftermath: A woman wades through floodwaters in Port au Prince August 25, 2012. Tropical Storm Isaac emerged over warm Caribbean waters on Saturday slightly weaker but ready to regroup after dumping torrential rains on Haiti

There were fears that Isaac could strike New  Orleans with the the same deadly force as the monster storm, which wiped out  homes and led to the death of nearly 2,000 people.

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 $110billion. 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.

Approaching storm: Isaac had officials worried enough in Tampa that they shuffled around some plans for the upcoming Republican National Convention
On patrol: National Guard patrol in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum ahead of the Republican National Convention – it has been delayed due to tropical storm Isaac
Powerful: A felled tree in Marathon, Florida as Isaac battered the coastline in the southern state this weekend

At 2pm (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.

Source: The Daily Mail


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