Thursday, August 30, 2012

Isaac, Though Weakening, Still Causing Many Problems...

Regular blog readers know that one of my greatest fears all along with Isaac (prior to landfall) had nothing to do with the wind, but the storm surge, and fresh water flooding.  Compounding that fear was the knowledge that the system would likely be moving very slowly, which would significantly extend the duration of the event, even longer than we saw with Katrina 7 years ago. Unfortunately, we continue to see those affects today, and are likely to for several more days to come...

Most recently we've heard of a mandatory evacuation affecting 50-60,000 people to the Northwest of New Orleans along the Tangipahoa River in Tangipahoa Parish (see the general location on the image below):

Officials in the area fear that a dam is close to being breached there, unable to hold back the waters that have been pounding the region from both the sea and the sky for the last 36 hours.  Radar estimates indicate that 15-20 inches of rain have fallen in this general area, and it is still raining at this time (although at a much lighter intensity, thankfully).

A similar order was issued yesterday evening for the southeast New Orleans community of Belle Chasse.  A levee was breached in that area, affecting approximately 3,000 people.  Plaquemines Parish (in which Belle Chasse is located) has been hit particularly hard by Isaac, with numerous rooftop rescues taking place yesterday.  The President of the Parish stated that the situation in his communities was "worse than Katrina".

Water hasn't been the only problem, as widespread wind damage has been reported as well.  Just under 1 million people are without power in Louisiana, which according to the Louisiana Public Utility Commission accounts for nearly 50% of all customers in the state.  Downed trees and other debris are widespread, which will slow the power restoration efforts in many areas.

Below are some new photos of the impacts of Isaac so far, with credits given where the photographer was able to be identified:

LaPlace, LA - Getty Images

Top of a 1 story home in Braithwaite, LA - Associated Press

Braithwaite, LA - Suzy Dinger

Damage in New Orleans - Times-Picayune

New Orleans - James Perry

Gulfport, MS - Tom Winter NBC News

Before & After in Fowl River, AL - Abby Weems

You can also view my post from yesterday for other photos.

Tornadoes have also been a problem in association with Isaac, as is often the case with tropical cyclones.  One county in Mississippi (Harrison) was under 10 different tornado warnings during the day yesterday.

Most tornadoes in association with tropical systems are relatively weak and short lived, but can cause damage, injuries or even death if they strike a populated area.  One tornado in Pascagoula, MS was on the ground long enough to be captured on camera yesterday:

Additional tornadoes are possible today, and a Tornado Watch is currently in effect for portions of Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida panhandle:

Not all of the news with Isaac is bad, however.  While heavy rains will continue to cause problems across portions of Louisiana and much of Mississippi and western Alabama today, much needed rain will fall over the drought stricken Midwest as the remnants of Isaac spread Northward over the weekend:

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