Hurricane Isaac is pretty much on schedule and delivering as feared. Storm surge east of the New Orleans proper, outside of the hurricane levees is extremely high, and major damage is expected. The western end of the Mississippi Gulf coast is also getting extremely high water, with lesser amounts farther east. The surge flooding is comparable to a healthy Category 2 hurricane due to Isaac's large size and slow movement.
Coastal flooding is still expected as far east as Apalachee Bay at the eastern end of the Florida Peninsula. In addition, significant storm surge flooding in some of the non-protected areas around Lake Ponchartrain is expected, since the winds will blow for a long time from the same direction, which will get the water moving.
If the track is anything like the computer models are forecasting - including the RPM Future Radar (an in-house Weather Channel model) - there will be an extended period of persistent rain, very heavy at times, over New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana. The center of Isaac will likely track to the west of the city, and the comma-shaped tail of tropical moisture will align over or near the metropolitan area and areas to the east of the center's track. Rainfall forecasts of 12 to 20 inches may be exceeded in some areas, so significant flooding from the rainfall is guaranteed.
The highest winds in the storm bands should decrease through the day tomorrow (Wednesday), though it will take a long time to wind down this monstrous wind machine. With a pressure of 968 millibars, it's like a deep well that has to be filled to calm the wind, and it can only be filled so fast. Expect windy weather to continue in the Louisiana and Mississippi impact zone on Thursday as the system moves toward Arkansas and points north.
Let's hope that people behaved well and got out of the surge zones. Otherwise, they are in a seriously bad situation.
See you on The Weather Channel.