Hurricane Isaac Closes In On Gulf Coast

Hurricane Isaac, a new hurricane threatening the coastal states, made landfall late on Tuesday, Aug. 28, near the mouth of the Mississippi river as it prepared to bear down on Louisiana and Mississippi. Isaac spanned over a diameter of 400 miles wide with winds of up to 80 mph, qualifying it as a category one hurricane.

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in United States history, demolishing cities and forever changing the lives of those caught in its path. Hurricane Isaac, who arrived almost exactly seven years later, delivered its damage in a drawn out fashion. On its journey, Isaac relentlessly hovered overhead dropping 17.63 inches of rain in Wilmer, AL and 20.08 inches in New Orleans, LA, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Without power and without any way to escape the rising waters, 900,000 residents of the affected areas were forced to wait on search and rescue missions by boat or high-water vehicles. One man, 53 year old Jimmie Hutchinson, was hunkered down in his single-story house attic with three others as the water came so close he could touch it. “I kept hoping the water would stop, and thankfully it did,” Hutchinson stated in a New York Times interview as he stood outside a shelter in Belle Chasse, LA. Although many have been rescued, there are still thousands of residents in need of assistance. Residents are in need of basic essentials such as clean clothes, drinking water, diapers and canned food items.

As Hurricane Isaac continued to flood the Gulf Coast and evacuations pressed on, CNN reported that a man and woman were found dead in their home in Plaquemines Parish, LA. The couple was discovered late Thursday in their kitchen, which was flooded with water up to seven feet. Isaac was demoted to a tropical storm once again on Wednesday but continues to produce extreme weather for the coastal area. President Obama declared a state of emergency for the coastal regions with local and federal forces continuing to arrive and provide relief assistance following mandatory evacuations.

As well as damaging structures in the coastal areas, Isaac will also damage oil production within and around the Gulf. The storm will affect fuel prices, but not by a wide margin, according to the GlobalData research firm. Gasoline prices in Michigan jumped 12 cents while Virginia saw a 20 cent increase as the storm kept oil production down. However, it is not entirely unexpected for gas prices to rise during extreme circumstances.

Closer to home, UTSA announced that Roadrunner football’s opening game against South Alabama was delayed until Saturday, Sept. 1, due to the severe weather. UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey said in a statement released by the UTSA sports information office that “the primary concern of the decision is the safety of the two teams, fans and game-day staff.”

Late on Thursday, Tropical Storm Isaac became Tropical Depression Isaac as its wind speeds had decreased to below 39 mph. On Friday, Isaac entered the state of Arkansas and is expected to continue into Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana until it dissipates over the North Eastern states.