Tropical Storm Isaac will most likely turn into Hurricane Isaac when it reaches the Gulf Coast, and, in anticipation of that event, President Obama on Monday declared a state of emergency throughout Louisiana. The storm is expected to reach land as a Category 1 hurricane as early as tonight.
By issuing a state of emergency in Louisiana, lawmakers can make federal funding available for storm-related emergency activities such as setting up storm shelters and organizing evacuation and rescue plans.
At this time, Tropical Storm Isaac is following the same path as Hurricane Katrina and is headed directly towards New Orleans, although officials warn that a large swatch of area will be hit by the storm.
FEMA chief Craig Fugate tells the Associated Press:
“This is not a New Orleans storm. This is a Gulf Coast storm. Some of the heaviest impact may be in Alabama and Mississippi.”
New Orleans officials do not seem too worried about the storm, as the Times-Picayune points out no city-wide evacuations have been ordered and most residents have chosen to stay in their homes to ride out the storm. In the meantime, New Orleans residents have been warned that power and water could be lost for several days once the storm arrives.
During a hurricane storm briefing on Monday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters:
“There is nothing this storm can bring us that we do not believe we’re prepared to handle. I believe that everything is going to be OK.”
Do you think New Orleans residents should evacuate or wait out the storm?