CNN, NEW YORK TIMES (US) REUTERS
Tropical storm Isaac raged into the Gulf of Mexico Monday, threatening to become a hurricane and make landfall in Louisiana, almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina decimated southeastern American cities and towns.
Governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have declared states of emergency, with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley ordering mandatory evacuations for residents on the coast starting from 8 a.m. Monday, reports CNN.
After hitting Haiti, where it killed at least six people, Isaac has gathered strength over Cuba and the Florida keys, bypassing the state's west coast.
Isaac's path is forecasted as almost identical to that of Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005, killing some 1,800 people across the region.
The tropical storm is expected to be upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane on Monday or Tuesday, with winds of up to 105 miles per hour, Reuters reports.
Seeing increased lightning activity associated with Isaac, which is usually an indicator that system is intensifying. ow.ly/i/SJlL— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) August 27, 2012
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters: "We are much, much better prepared structurally than before." There are no plans at present to evacuate New Orleans.
Oil companies have been scrambling to evacuate their offshore oil-rigs and production platforms.
The Republican National Convention, set to start on Monday in Tampa Bay, was postponed due to the storm.
The opening session on Monday was set to feature Mitt Romney's formal nomination as Republican candidate. The New York Times reports Romney as saying: "I hope everybody’s fine there. I’m concerned about the people that are going to be affected by it."
Mr. Romney, however, remains upbeat, even though the timing has created a headache for his senior staffers, as the media networks focus their attention on the storm's developments: "It'll be a great convention," Romney told reporters.
So the storms in Florida have delayed Mitt Romney's selection as Rep pres candidate. Guess that shows how Mother Nature feels about him.— Susan P (@downatheel) August 27, 2012