Tropical Storm Isaac on similar path as Katrina in 2005
5:35 a.m. EST, August 27, 2012|
Tropical Storm Isaac entered the Gulf of Mexico early Monday staying on a northwesterly track away from the Florida Peninsula but on a similar path as Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Both Louisiana and Mississippi have declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm's strengthening into a hurricane within a day or two, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 5 a.m., Isaac was churning the sea about 180 miles west of Fort Myers, moving at about 14 mph with sustained winds of 65 mph, meteorologists said.
Hurricane watches are in effect from Intracoastal City, La., to Morgan City, La., — including the New Orleans metropolitan area — as the swirling behemoth gathers strength and becomes a hurricane Monday night, forecasters said.
New models show Isaac intensifying into a category 2 hurricane just before it makes landfall in the same area where Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc almost exactly seven years ago.
All hurricane watches for the Florida Panhandle have been lifted and only tropical storm warnings remain in effect on the west coast from Tarpon Springs southward to the Keys.
Though Tropical Storm Isaac is swirling away from Florida, the storm's impact is far-reaching, spawning severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Central Florida.
Fast-moving squalls capable of producing wind gusts in excess of 50 mph near Brevard, northeastern Osceola and southeastern Orange County were detected by meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Melbourne.
Tornado warnings remain in place until 9 a.m. for Polk and Osceola counties. Locally, lake-wind advisories were issued.
The greatest threat will be from wind and heavy rain that can hamper visibility on the roadways and snap tree limbs to cause power outages.
Torrential rain is drenching the region and could produce localized flooding.