Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isaac officially reaches hurricane strength

CBS News: Isaac officially ballooned into a hurricane Tuesday that could flood the coasts of four states with storm surge and heavy rains on its way to New Orleans, where residents hunkered down behind levees fortified after Katrina struck seven years ago this week.

Shelters were open for those who chose to stay or missed the chance to get away before the outer bands of the large storm blow ashore ahead of a forecast landfall in southeast Louisiana on Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

Forecasters warned that Isaac was a large storm whose effects could reach out 200 miles from its center. Water may be worse than wind because the storm could push walls of water while dumping rain to flood the low-lying coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded Isaac to a Category 1 hurricane midday Tuesday, with surface wind speeds of 75 mph and flight-level winds even stronger, at 110 mph. The storm system was centered about 75 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River at 12:20 p.m. ET and was moving northwest at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was 160 miles southeast of New Orleans.

CBS News hurricane consultant David Bernard reports from CBS station WFOR-TV in Miami that some areas hit by Isaac could see as much as 20 inches of rain. In Washington, President Obama urged Gulf Coast residents to listen to local authorities, saying in brief remarks at the White House that "now is not the time to tempt fate."

The president declared a state of emergency in Louisiana late Monday, more than 24 hours before the storm was expected to hit the Gulf Coast. The declaration makes federal support available to save lives, protect public health and safety and preserve property in coastal areas....

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Aug. 23, 2012) Employees of Bremcor, a military contracting company, tie down geo-fabric netting that surrounds the detainee camps at Guantanamo in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.

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