Updated projections for Tropical Storm Isaac now put New Orleans in the possible range of cross-hairs. Governor Bobby Jindal has already proclaimed a state of emergency for Louisiana in anticipation of the possibility of Isaac’s arrival. The National Weather Service believes that Tropical Storm Isaac will be Hurricane Isaac after it gets over the gulf, and when it makes landfall, it could be a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Katrina struck southeast Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane back in 2005.
The lessons of Katrina are still felt in the region, and they are taking a much more proactive approach with the threat of Isaac looming. While a call for evacuation of the city is not in effect at this time, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has made it clear that if such a call comes, the residents of New Orleans should take heed. He has said that some of the infamous “shelters of last resort” from Katrina, like the Superdome, will not be shelters this time around. If the evacuation call comes, he wants the citizens to listen.
The possible Hurricane Isaac is projected to make landfall late Tuesday evening or Wednesday, wherever it ends up striking. Wednesday is a particularly significant date, as it is the seventh anniversary of the assault of Hurricane Katrina. This could be the first real test of the levies that were supposedly strengthened after Katrina to prevent flooding in the Crescent City. Unfortunately, as was proven in Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, no one really knows what the levies can stand until they face the real test. Let’s all hope that this isn’t it.
It should be noted that wherever Isaac eventually leaves its mark, all of the projected areas were victims of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans tends to be the flagship symbol of that unprecedented disaster, but regions in Mississippi and Alabama brace themselves for impact as well. We can all aim our prayers at Isaac not strengthening as much as projected, but for now, only time will tell.