Went on a tour of the bay of Bay St. Louis, MS this morning with a team of survey engineers assessing Hurricane Isaac’s impact, starting at the Highway 90 Bridge and going south to the Silver Slipper Casino. Several piers washed out, but for the most part, the damage is superficial.
Observed several flocks of pelicans resting on the shore, drying out their wings. One pelican was in dire stress; looked like it lost its feathers. Most notable were the bloated nutria (a non-native rodent like creature that resembles a beaver) carcasses scattered across the sand and patches of sea grass seething with juvenile water moccasin nests.
Only real complaints heard from residents was the lack of cell service and loss of power (approximately 800 residents), and removing debris from their property.
Otherwise, shops are open and life is returning back to normal, for the most part.
Note: Hurricane Isaac estimated to result in $700 million to $2 billion in losses. Katrina cost $41 billion. http://on.wsj.com/RtT06O
The major broadcasting networks consider shifting resources from GOP Convention in Tampa to New Orleans in advance of Hurricane Isaac’s landfall sometime late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning, which is ironically the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Isaac could take direct aim at New Orleans, which is still struggling to fully recover from Katrina which swept across the city on August 29, 2005, killing more than 1,800 people and causing billions of dollars of damage along the coast.
“That brings a high level of anxiety to the people of New Orleans,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told a news conference. “I want to tell everybody now that I believe that we will be OK,” he added.
At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Monday, Isaac was centered 255 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with top sustained winds of 70 mph and swirling northwest at 12 mph.
To date, Hurricane Isaac has killed at least 20 people and caused significant flooding and damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Almost seven years to the date of Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive natural disaster in American history, Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall on the Central Gulf Coast as a Category 2 Hurricane sometime around 7pm tomorrow.
The National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant expect Isaac to drive a Storm Surge of 6-12 feet into coastal communities, presenting the first major test of regional infrastructure and disaster preparation systems since Katrina. There are additional concerns that Isaac will bring in a black wave of tar balls from the BP oil spill.
Our production crew is en route to the Gulf Coast to cover Hurricane Isaac, the post storm recovery efforts, and the anticipated onshore flow of remnant oil.
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Residents and vacationers from the Florida Panhandle westward to the Louisiana coastline as far west as Vermilion Bay need to closely monitor the progress of Isaac as the forecast track may change between now and the time of landfall, which is expected either late Tuesday night or during Wednesday morning.