After Katrina, the Gulf of Mexico is hurricane shy. So even though the latest hurricane, Isaac, is only a Category 1 hurricane compared to Katrina’s category 5, it has inspired widespread evacuations, stockpiling, and the abeyance of business plans.
After all, Isaac is coming seven years from Katrina, almost to a day, and the damage Katrina did to New Orleans shocked the nation. Isaac’s trajectory mirrors Katrina’s in many ways, except in intensity, and is already being blamed for eight deaths in Haiti and two in the Dominican Republic.
At 11 a.m. Monday, EDT, Isaac remained a mere tropical storm with winds of 65 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicts the winds will pick up to between 74 and 95 mph and hit the bayous of New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle sometime Tuesday. Katrina’s winds, however, had exceeded 157 miles per hour.
“It if comes in, it’s just going to be a big rain storm,” opined Billy Cannon, an Alabama resident who thinks the order to evacuates was premature. “I think they overreacted, but I understand where they are coming from.” New Orleans has been reinforced since Katrina to better handle hurricane catastrophes with a better levee system.
Four states have made emergency declarations. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency, instructing 53,000 residents of Charles Parish near New Orleans to evacuate.
The storm has also halted oil production in the Gulf, which accounts for 24 percent of daily oil production in the U.S., and the GOP has cancelled Monday morning’s opening session of the Republican convention