Isaac officially gained hurricane status this afternoon, just off the coast of Louisiana.
The center of Hurricane Isaac as of 6 pm CDT, was only 15 miles south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, or 95 miles southeast of New Orleans. Isaac is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph…13 km/h. A northwestward motion at a slightly slower speed is expected over the next day or two.
On the forecast track…the center of Hurricane Isaac should reach the coastline of southeastern Louisiana this evening. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph…130 km/h… with higher gusts. Isaac is a category one hurricane on the Saffir- Simpson hurricane wind scale. Some slight strengthening is possible before Isaac makes landfall. Gradual weakening is expected after landfall occurs.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles…95 km…mainly to the northeast and east of the center. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles…295 km. Tropical storm conditions are occurring along the coastal areas of southeastern Louisiana…Mississippi…and Alabama.