Isaac takes aim – look out New Orleans and Biloxi

The track models have all been pointing to the Gulf coast rather than central Florida, this plot of 10 meter wind velocity through August 31st is from WeatherBell’s newly setup HWRF model website by hurricane expert Dr. Ryan Maue:

The brown colors near the eye indicate sustained wind speeds of 100 to 130 knots (115 to 150 mph). That would make Isaac likely a category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall, with likely higher gusts. The track takes it across the Florida keys, near Ft. Meyers, FL, and onto the Gulf Coast. It is expected to intensify in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico once it clears the west coast of Florida. The turn towards the NNE isn’t forecast to happen until after landfall in the model.

UPDATE: The new forecast for today has lower wind speeds and the track has shifted west to the delta of the Mississippi river: 

Here’s a more detailed closeup 4 panel model view for the time Isaac is forecast to make landfall:

And here is the update for today:

Obviously a lot can change, but this bears watching and getting out of the way of. I’ll have updates to this page soon, and an Isaac reference page will be setup on WUWT for keeping track of it.

Rainfall from Isaac looks to be between 10 and 20 inches along its path:

here’s the update for Sunday, about the same, but in the worst place possible:

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. has been looking at some damage model estimates earlier today and writes:

The median historical damage from this set of analogue storms is $1.6 billion, with an incredibly wide range. Currently the NHC projects Issac to make landfall along the Gulf coast as a category 2 storm. There are 5 historical analogues in the set above with normalized damage ranging $1 billion (Georges, 1998) to $4.4 billion (Gustav, 2008). Category 3 and 4 storms have resulted in much higher damage. I’ll update these numbers as Issac gets closer to the Gulf Coast.


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Calm down Dears. It won’t be a big one.

Pamela Gray

Dang! Pack your belongings and pets and head North Dixie!

Is this a bad omen for the RNC? I hope not.


There’s a republican governor in charge of Louisiana this time.

Ian W

I am not so sure this won’t intensify. The new model tracks are a lot West of the old well away from the mid-Florida coast, giving a long sea track and with many now looking like a direct hit on Lake Pontchartrain which is the worst direction for New Orleans. (if you want to see all the various models you can go to a kind of one-stop shop for meteorological models in the South East.)
The Gulf of Mexico SSTs are in the mid 80s F which is around average for this time of year and if the wind shear stays favorable this could be a nasty storm.


This is clearly Barack Obama’s doing. He’s trying to get even for the hurricane he claimed George Bush caused. Need proof, look at the timing with the RNC events. Now that Obama is President and has all that power, he likes using it, too. 😉
Come to think of it, he’ll probably blame this on George Bush, too.


The Euro model saw this solution four days ago. The GFS has done quite poorly with the evolution of this storm.

Tom S

I wouldn’t discount this so quick Dave. Shear is weak, track will allow for strengthening over open water…deep convection really winding up around the center right now.


It doesn’t look as bad as Katrina. If it shifts to the west of NO then it’s bye-bye for NO. I’ve had great times on Bourbon St there years ago.


Mario Lento says:
August 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

No, it is good. I suspect this duress will promote teamwork and unity.
What is the other choice again?
Towards the post
That is great technology if hindsight proves it right.
Kinda scary seeing the future in that respect if so, but a good thing in the end.

Ian W

Nerd says:
August 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm
It doesn’t look as bad as Katrina. If it shifts to the west of NO then it’s bye-bye for NO. I’ve had great times on Bourbon St there years ago.

The worst track is the one currently forecast with storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain that would really stress the New Orleans flood defenses as will the huge amount of rain – 10 – 20 inches. I think Le Quartier Français will survive as always as it was built by people who thought about flooding and storms. But much of the other more recent areas of New Orleans are below sea level including the newly rebuilt areas of the 9th Ward.
[I had thought it would have been sensible to dig canals between all the flooded 9th Ward houses use the earth that was dug out to raise the houses and then you have water front property above sea level with roads in front and canals behind. The canals would slow and dissipate storm surges protecting the other parts of New Orleans. It would have led to a big jump in land and house values and have brought more builders in. ]

Dr. John M. Ware

In several places above, Isaac is misspelled Issac; please correct.
I hope everyone will be safe; even if Isaac doesn’t hit 130 mph, it’s still a big potent storm.
REPLY: I found one instance in my text, fixed, and the other two are in Dr. Roger Pielke’s text, which I can’t correct – Anthony

If you live anywhere along the Gulf Coast from near New Orleans, eastward to the Florida Panhandle, you need to really pay attention to Isaac, and where he is headed. His exact track and strength is not yet set in stone, and will likely change several more times over the next couple of days. But make no mistake folks, he has his sights set on the Gulf of Mexico, and he is coming your way if you live in the above mentioned areas.
However, the various computer models (NHC Models), GFS, UKMET, ECMWF, CMC have all been tracking Isaac inland between these areas by next Tuesday or Wednesday. The latest model trends today have been shifting Isaac’s forecast track further west….possibly making landfall in the New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile, Pascagoula areas on Tuesday. This may change.
Isaac has the potential to become at least a Category 3 Hurricane, maybe even stronger, once he enters the central Gulf of Mexico south of the Florida Peninsula. The surface water temperatures over the central Gulf of Mexico are about as warm as they get….mid 80’s to near 90.
Isaac is already a very large cyclone, and may get even bigger in size once he encounters these very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Model forecasts also indicate that the winds aloft will be very light, with little to no shear when Isaac enters this area. Environmental conditions will be nearly ideal for Isaac to potentially explode into a monster of a Hurricane.
Isaac is no joke, and please do not wait until the last minute trying to decide if you are going to prepare for his landfall, if you live in the above mentioned areas.

Lady in Red

I hope, I hope, I hope…. Isaac gives the GOP some breathing room to re-think their American taliban Constituional Amendment forced birthing position and the extent they ain’t so far from Akin after all….
…to watch the MoveOn and Obama ad about govt controlling a woman’s body, rights….
…and re-group: win the election. Go Isaac! ….Lady in Red

The forecasts above show the storm east of NO and Lake P. The storm surge is in the center and to the right of the storm because that’s where the onshore winds are.

Tom in Florida

SS says:
August 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm
“The Euro model saw this solution four days ago. The GFS has done quite poorly with the evolution of this storm.”
Yes, GFS has not performed well for this storm, thankfully! The farther west it tracks the better for my area although as we remember with Charley in 2004, it ain’t over til the fat lady passes by. In addition, we have had lots of rain recently in this area up through Tampa so even just a few more inches all at once may create a huge problem.

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
BUT BUT I bought Carbon off-sets credits

P. Solar

Pielke Jr says: The median historical damage from this set of analogue storms is $1.6 billion …
Just as well it’s not a digital storm then. 😉
Maybe the good Dr meant analogous storms.

The brown shows a cat 4 when it makes landfall. As long as you don’t count Key West and the other Florida Keys as land.

Bill Jamison

The latest track from the NHC has Isaac hitting closer to Pensacola but either way it could be bad, very bad. The trajectory in these models brings the storm surge directly in towards New Orleans and if it’s a Cat 4 storm the chance of a repeat of Katrina will be VERY high. Definitely a serious situation.


“I had thought it would have been sensible to dig canals between all the flooded 9th Ward houses use the earth that was dug out to raise the houses and then you have water front property above sea level with roads in front and canals behind.”
And those canals would drain to … where?

Don’t worry about those Republicans. Earlier this week I delivered a load of 200 mile per hour duct tape to Tampa. So their Whigs won’t get blowed away.
3M Racing Products

Grey Lensman

Jorge said
And those canals would drain to … where?
Ask the dutch!
It would also help to mass replant the mangroves and reduce the number of shipping channels but increase the quality of those remaining

Lady in Red says:
August 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

WTF? You really think conservatives want people to die? So wrong I can’t even wring my head.

Al Gore

They come wet and wild and when they leave they take with them both the car and the house.


I’d keep my eyes on that mid-latitude storm that exited Colorado recently. The strength and path of it will affect the tropical system as it approaches the Gulf.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Wouldn’t this be a good time for a geo-engineering experiment? There was a lot of talk at the time of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon leak about the effects of hurricane winds on the spilled oil.
Sadly and despite popular expectations, Nature itself took care of that oil relatively quickly. But knowing that it can, is there time to arrange a small spill to test those earlier predictions? After all, there have been serious proposals for spraying different substances to somehow sap these storms of energy. Since crude oil naturally seeps into the Gulf continuously, why not test and find out what really happens with oil?

Lady in Red [August 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm]

Red Lady, what’s that you say, something about MoveOn and Obama controlling a woman’s body.
Why not, they seem successful at controlling a woman’s mind. Your mind. What’s left of it anyway.

“win the election. Go Isaac!”

I told you our Democratic-Socialists would be going down this path. It’s in their genes. It is not a great leap from here to where all the other reds and socialists always wind up.
They root for massive death and destruction because they think they can spin it to their favor. Vote these vermin out. There is no reason to elect a Red or a Socialist for any reason. The Red Lady has made it nice and clear.

Let’s hope that the US Army Corps of Engineers have done their job this time.


Mario Lento says:
August 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm
“Is this a bad omen for the RNC? I hope not.”
Yes. Calmer weather will allow the anarchists to do what they prepared to do.

Ian W

jorgekafkazar says:
August 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm
“I had thought it would have been sensible to dig canals between all the flooded 9th Ward houses use the earth that was dug out to raise the houses and then you have water front property above sea level with roads in front and canals behind.”
And those canals would drain to … where?

They would be just like the other canals in New Orleans sea level canals between Mississippi and Main Outal Canal perhaps. Once houses are above the water level these canals can fill and empty naturally. Perhaps by letting Mississippi outflow into them it would slow the river flow which is currently so fast that the barrier islands have been eroded away as silt that keeps them has been carried directly out into the Gulf.

mike about town

PSolar, actually, “analogue” has a first definition that is exactly how Pielke meant it. It is “something that is an analogy to something else.” But I realize it must look funny if you didn’t know that word!


Well, one supposes we’ll see if Obama can really stop the rise of the oceans and stop those terrible storms devastating the land. But it’s only been four years and a month since Berlin. I guess he’ll go to TPC of Louisianna to survey the damage and maybe get a round or two in before the crowds return.
For sure, all the pols will be presssing that big red button this week. “Greyhound bus” Nagel was replaced by one of Mary Landrieu’s clan, Mitch Landrieau. Obama, Jindal and Landrieau along tihe the Czars of DC accompanied by the “Better than Bush” orchastra it will be quite a spectacle. Given the low bar of this years campaign, expect a theme to be played called “we were right to close the Gulf to oil until we get that CO2 under control. Darn W anyway.”
One hopes that folks in LA don’t have short memories. You can rebuild houses under sea level – if you’re alive afterwards.


First (?) serious trike in seven years, and it (more or less) takes aim on the same city?
Will they blame oh!bummer! for not making a bigger effort to control the natural climate, or is it still Bush`s fault?


Can the powers that be please send Isaac north west into the Central Plains? We need the rain.

What’s the state of the NO levees now? Are they fully refurbished and are they stronger/higher than before?


This is troubling. We have a friend who moved back to NOLA not long after Katrina. I know he has the sense to get out, but I still worry.
I was intitially a bit skeptical when I saw this track because all of the official tracks I could find still had Isaac tracking up the Florida coast into the panhandle, but last night at 11, they had him starting to veer further West. I haven’t checked in yet this morning to see if their official forecasts still have him turning more westerly as this track projects. At least Louisiana has officials at the state level who will get things moving this time around.
We better all be prepared to take some more pain at the gas pumps, too, at this rate. Isaac is going to hit some platforms and some refineries I’m guessing.
As to the Lady in Red, why do her kind only believe in acts of God when they think they can score political points off them?


The levees have been strengthened to some degree. As a Louisiana resident, I hope we don’t have to find out if the work was sufficient. I don’t know if New Orleans and the surrounding coastal area can really be protected from a true Cat 3. The closing of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) should help some, but there are simply too many weak points to protect from a strong storm surge.


Can you put this as a permanent story at the top of the page and update as possible?
I live in N.O.


On Geo Sat it looks like it doesn’t have a chance to regain much energy, a lot like Irene last fall.

Lady in Red

Probably, Anthony’s site should not be a political venue. However, I have been misunderstood.
I am a conservative, even more a libertarian.
At the same time I am concerned about the (unchanged) GOP platform to preserve fetal life, over the wishes of the woman (oven). Wickedly, I call it the American taliban, forced birthing movement. The GOP has always had the platform, but, now, clawing back state by state (forced ultrasounds, forced structural changes to clinics, etc.), they are getting closer to:
forcing all women to birth. Fetuses gain rights; women lose ’em.
I hope that Isaac gives the GOP time to rethink this position because, all of the big issues we should be focusing upon, this issue terrifies undecided/independent women voters:
These are not Dem slime ads. Sadly, as crude as Akin has seemed, he *is* the future of the GOP vis a vis women’s rights.
I just hope there is some serious hustling within the GOP. Rare — but legal — would be fine. But sending women back to the 1950’s, to back alleys, is not going to win them an election.
I hope the GOP uses this day to figure out its position on back alley abortions, its position as a stand-in for the taliban in America, forcing all women, all the time, to comply with their view of morality.
Is this clear. Go Isaac! Give ’em time. I hope the ole boys think! ….Lady in Red


“I am a conservative, even more a libertarian.”
So what is your view on energy policy? Do you think the Federal government should be spending tax money on green ventures and forcing coal plants to shut down?


I will remind “Lady in Red” that several of the supposed “Republican” women in that commercial are long-time voting and registered democrats. At least one, and maybe others, is deeply involved in democrat and socially extremely liberal issues and causes.
“Republican” women? Seems not.
It is like the democrat activist who deliberately registered at a Catholic College in Washington DC at a rate of over 20,000.00 dollars tuition per year for her law degree, while living downtown in the most expensive city in the country, so she could protest that Catholic University’s religious doctrine of not providing free abortions to their students. As 48 million potential taxpayers could have told you, a greater death toll in history than anyone but Stalin and Mao, the costs of your obsession and lies about abortion is immense.
And, like the 7 million false Obama Facebook “likes”, their false CAGW doctrines, their false economic doctrines, the biased and bigoted racial doctrines of the left, these lies by the democrat party continue as they intrude into religion and religious issues.


Al Gore says:
August 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm
They come wet and wild and when they leave they take with them both the car and the house.
Wait, I have it, I have it… Wives!


[The track takes it across the Florida keys, near Ft. Meyers, FL, and onto the Gulf Coast]
Umm, Ft. Meyers is, I believe, somewhere in Israel. The one here in FL is spelt Myers. 🙂

Tom in (we dodged the bullet this time) Florida

cedarhill says:
August 26, 2012 at 3:42 am
“One hopes that folks in LA don’t have short memories. You can rebuild houses under sea level – if you’re alive afterwards.”
But that is the folly, continually REBUILDING houses under sea level. Fool me once ………

Lady in Red

I believe in science, facts, repeatable experiments. I believe in truth. I believe in limited govt. I believe in conservation and respect for the environment, picking up beer cans and “taking out what you brought in.”
I believe in babies and dogs and cats. I believe that calves and baby lambs and goats and pigs should be treated with love and respect.
I do not believe that American women should be turned into birthing ovens, without rights. Abortion is a tough decision, but it’s a decision between a woman and her doctor, just like many other medical decisions. That is all.
(Hell, I ponder the sadness of the SPCA murder of all the love and life-filled cats and puppies — who don’t want to die.)
If turning the clock back to the 1950’s is really what the GOP wants, sobeit. If Isaac is not about a God-sent respite to rethink, ok. ….Lady in Red

Paul Coppin

This isn’t the thread for any of the above. There are plenty of political blogs out there, including one of mine, to beat your collective chests on about what colour your political stripe is. For the RNC and Tampa, ISAAC may turn out to be a blessing. The web is full of chatter right now about a violent “occupy” for Tampa and the convention, that if happens as is being called for, will make the US politcal system moot. ISAAC might just help prevent a much worse storm.
Back to ISAAC and the NHC… I wonder if there is a renewed emphasis for NOAA to make their predictions on increased numbers of named storms come true. As we noticed last year, their seems to be an interest in pouncing on depressions and giving them names as soon as possible – Joyce being the latest example of a minor dust-up that dissipated almost as fast as NOAA posted a name for it.
There also seems to be an urgency in ISAAC NHC discussions to want to call it a hurricane as soon as possible. Maybe this is instrumental in US emergency management strategies, don’t know, but they seem intent on finding any evidence of a 65knot wind in order to declare it, however fleeting.