5:45 p.m.: Link - new live blog for Hurricane Isaac, covering evening hours
4:50 p.m.: The 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center indicates Isaac’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 80 mph. It is positioned 30 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi and is headed northwest at 8 mph.
Due to the storm’s reduction in forward speed, landfall will be delayed into overnight - perhaps due south or just southwest of New Orleans in the Delta region. Maximum surge is forecast for the Mississippi and SE Louisiana coast - up to 6-12 feet above ground at high tide. [end of live blog]
4:10 p.m.: Some wind gusts as of 4 p.m.: Apache Oil Platform (offshore) 93 mph (279 feet above water), Boothville 53 mph, New Orleans International Airport 36 mph.
4:00 p.m.: The storm surge continues to build along the northern Gulf Coast. At Shell Beach, Louisiana, the surge has reached 5.5 feet and in Pensacola it has reached 3 feet.
3:15 p.m.: Boothville, Louisiana, near mouth of Mississippi reports heavy rain and wind gusts to 66 mph at 3:00 p.m. At 2:50 p.m. the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port recorded a gust to 87 mph (at an elevation of 190 feet above sea level).
3:00 p.m.: Picture of flooding in Charleston, SC where flash flood warning has been extended until 5:30 p.m. Radar indicates 5-8” of rain has fallen there today as the circulation from Isaac has fed deep tropical moisture into that region. (See also 12:20 p.m. update below). Link: Raw video of Charleston flooding.
2:50 p.m.: No doubt Isaac will impact gas prices. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reports as of 11:30 a.m. CDT “personnel have been evacuated from a total of 503 production platforms, equivalent to 84.4 percent of the 596 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.” BloombergTV tweeted: “#Isaac shuts 93% of oil output, 67% of natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Overview: As our tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy stressed in his latest update, hurricane Isaac will produce a range of hazardous impacts in a wide swath along the northern Gulf Coast as it makes landfall this afternoon into this evening in southeast Louisiana. Destructive winds, flooding rain, a dangerous storm surge and tornadoes are possible in southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the western panhandle of Florida. This region includes New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi, Mobile and Pensacola.
Keep reading for earlier updates and useful links
2:35 p.m.: Wind gust to 81 mph just clocked at elevation of 80 feet near mouth of Mississippi in Southwest Pass, Louisiana at 2:06 p.m. (ET). Wind was sustained at 60 mph.
2:20 p.m.: Video of storm surge pushing Gulf of Mexico water over road along coast in Waveland, Mississipi.
1:45 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center reports an observing site at Southwest Pass, Louisiana recently measured sustained winds to 60 mph and a gust to 76 mph.
1:30 p.m.: Until track forecasts for Isaac converged on southeast Louisiana yesterday, there were lots of twists and turns. Originally, the Florida peninsula and the Florida panhandle were targeted. Watch this animation of the track forecast evolution.
1:20 p.m.: Tweet from CNN weather: “New Orleans Mayor says the 26 ft gates have been SHUT to protect the city from incoming storm surge from Isaac.”
1:05 p.m.: Landfalling hurricanes frequently produce tornadoes. They are usually small spin-ups but can occasionally grow larger and become destructive. A tornado warning was issued for the area around Slidell, Louisiana at 12:50 EDT and continues through 1:15 p.m. The potential for tornadoes continues through 7 p.m. at least during which a tornado watch is in effect from southeast Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle.
12:40 p.m.: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is giving a live press conference on Hurricane Isaac. Watch here.
12:35 p.m.: Isaac is the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season’s 4th hurricane, on the heels of Chris, Ernesto, and Gordon.
12:30 p.m.: Isaac is now officially a hurricane according to the National Hurricane Center with maximum sustained winds to 75 mph.
12:15 p.m.: USA Today weather (on Twitter) reminds us: “More than 60 percent of hurricane-related deaths occur far from the coast because of flooding, mudslides and tornadoes”
12:10 p.m.: Latest flight recon data indicate pressure down to 975 mb and peak surface winds to 76 mph, indicating Isaac has reached hurricane intensity. Isaac has not officially been named a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center, but this is probably forthcoming.
Noon: Through 11 a.m., some impressive wind gusts have already begun battering the Gulf coast. Grandle Isle recorded a 64 mph gust at 9:35 a.m. EDT. A buoy offshore measured a gust to 82.6 mph. New Orleans Lakefront airport has gusted to 43 mph.