CNN, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER (US), REUTERS
Residents in New Orleans are rushing to complete last-minute preparations, bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Isaac, which will begin to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast late Tuesday, as forecasters set to upgrade it to Hurricane status.
The Tropical Storm is gaining strength, poised to become a "robust" hurricane on a projected path that leads it directly to New Orleans, harkening back to the devastation wrought seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.
The National Hurricane Center, part of the U.S. National Weather Service, issued the following statement:
...ISAAC ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING A HURRICANE...SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE AND FRESHWATER FLOOD THREAT TO THE NORTHERN GULF COAST... ...U.S. Warnings in Effect...
— Natl Hurricane Ctr (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2012
Isaac has taken on an added significance because its projected landfall Wednesday falls on the anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CNN reports. It is also threatening to throw off the script of the Republican National Convention, which begins Tuesday in Tampa -- though the Florida city will be spared the brunt of the storm.
The tropical storm has already killed at least 22 people and caused significant flooding and damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, before skirting the southern tip of Florida on Sunday, Reuters reports.