Hurricane Isaac heads towards New Orleans

Hurricane Isaac heads towards New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS- The Associated Press
Hurricane Isaac heads towards New Orleans

A girl leans against a pole to support herself against strong winds. AFP photo

Hurricane Isaac raked the Louisiana coast and headed for a shuttered New Orleans, sending floodwaters surging and unleashing fierce winds. Residents of New Orleans waited out another storm just hours shy of the seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac’s approach left deserted streets from New Orleans’ famous French Quarter to Tampa 770 kilometers away, where Republicans at their party’s national convention pressed on with only a passing mention of the storm’s arrival. President Barack Obama promised that Americans will help each other recover, “no matter what this storm brings.”

Political challenges

While many residents stayed put, evacuations were ordered in low-lying areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, where officials closed 12 shorefront casinos. One of the main concerns along the shoreline was storm surge, which occurs when hurricane winds raise sea levels off the coast, causing flooding on land. As Isaac neared the city, there was little fear or panic. With New Orleans’ airport closed, tourists retreated to hotels and most denizens of a coastline that has witnessed countless hurricanes decided to ride out the storm.

While much less powerful than Katrina in 2005, Isaac unleashed fierce winds and soaking rains that knocked out power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses. Isaac also posed similar political challenges, a reminder of how the storm seven years ago became a symbol of government ignorance and ineptitude.