Hurricane Warnings Issued; State Of Emergency Declared
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Hurricane watches in effect from Morgan City to the Florida gulf coast have been upgraded to hurricane warnings as forecasters shifted Tropical Storm Isaac's predicted path even further to the west.
As of 4 p.m. Isaac was 45 miles southwest of Key West, Fla. with maximum sustained winds at 60 miles per hour. The storm was moving to the west-northwest at about 16 miles per hour.
Hurricane models have fluctuated wildly over the last two days, but there appears to be general consensus that Isaac will make landfall Wednesday morning somewhere along the Louisiana or Mississippi gulf coast as a category two hurricane.
"With the continuing shift, of Isaac, to the west, it seems likely that Lafayette will feel some effects of the storm," Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said on his Facebook page. "While the kind of flooding that we have seen in other parts of the state cannot happen here, anyone that lives in areas that are prone to flooding in heavy rain should be thinking in terms of a plan."
Because of recent wet weather, the ground is already saturated, raising the possibility of street flooding, Durel said.
"We are meeting in the Emergency Operations Center in the morning," Durel said. "I will let you know as information becomes more trustworthy and certain."
Earlier Sunday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency. Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Charles parishes made similar declarations earlier Sunday. The city of Grand Isle has issued a mandatory evacuation order for its residents; voluntary evacuation orders are in effect for many of the low-lying communities south of Interstate 10.
In addition, Jindal has authorized the mobilization of up to 4,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard to help support the hurricane effort. They have 75 generators positioned if needed, Jindal said.
The state has also activated its contracts to provide 200 buses to help with evacuations, Jindal said.