Based on radar data at 5pm CDT (see below), the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located between Convent and Donaldsonville, LA. This is about 50 miles West of New Orleans. Isaac continues to move very slowly toward the North/Northwest to Northwest at around 5 mph. Maximum winds have decreased to around 70 mph, which resulted in the "downgrade" to Tropical Storm earlier this afternoon. Despite the change in classification, Isaac is still causing widespread problems across the state of Louisiana as well as southern Mississippi, and this will continue into the night and early Thursday.
As you can see on the most recent radar presentation, the eye has become very small and will continue to slowly dissipate this evening. Strong winds of 50-60 mph with gusts of 70-80 mph continue mainly to the East and Northeast of the center. Winds will remain strong throughout the evening, but will gradually decrease into the 40-50 mph with gusts of 50-60 mph range by Midnight.
In addition to the widespread damaging winds of the last 12-18 hours, the other big story with Isaac, just as we feared, has been the pro-longed storm surge and related flooding. I could bore you with some factual details, but I think the pictures below tell the story much more effectively (credit given when the photographer was known):
Pass Christian, MS - Riann Martin
Gulfport, MS - Riann Martin
French Quarter - Tripp Remmington III
Gas Station in Braithwaite, LA - Associated Press
McDonald's Near Braithwaite, LA - Charley Louise
Taken from 3rd story of a Braithwaite, LA Home - Unknown Photographer
More Rooftops in Braithwaite, LA - Lolo Jones
Lake Pontchartrain Overflowing - AP Photo
Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, MS - Sun Herald
Laplace, LA - Richard McDougle
Historic Home Destroyed in New Orleans - Melissa Perry
In addition to the persistent (though gradually decreasing) strong winds, additional heavy rainfall is on tap for much of the region tonight. Here is how the rainfall is forecast to break-down for the periods 7pm to 1am CDT, 1am to 7am CDT and 7am to 1pm CDT tonight and tomorrow, respectively:
While several tornadoes have been reported today, it is unclear how much damage was caused by any actual tornadoes vs. the ongoing windstorm. A Tornado Watch continues across much of the region until 12 Midnight this evening, and may be extended and/or reissued as Isaac continues to slowly move Northward:
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