Almost seven years to the day after New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City may be battered yet again, though probably not as severely.
The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows the path of Tropical Storm Isaac taking dead aim on New Orleans. The storm is expected to reach hurricane status before it makes landfall Tuesday evening, though the NHS only expects Category 1 levels, or perhaps the low end of Category 2, which could be as high as 100 miles per hour.
The eye of the storm would then pass over southeast Louisiana on Wednesday, and reach the vicinity of Vicksburg, Miss. by Thursday morning.
Forecasters point out that their confidence level in this path is still not the greatest, as models have been literally all over the map with this storm. For that reason, hurricane warnings remain in effect from Morgan City, La. to Destin, Fla., and include all of the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts.
If Isaac continues on its projected path, central Alabama and metro Birmingham would be spared the worst of the storm. Feeder bands can extend as far as 250 miles away from the eye, but that would probably mean only heavy rain and moderate winds for the metro area. If the path moves eastward, however, drenching rains and higher winds could result. There's also the possibility of small tornadoes that often spin up on the outer bands of tropical systems, though any that do occur would not be of the scale seen with supercell tornadoes like those in April 2011.
As of yet, no local governments have called for any closures or other special measures in anticipation of Isaac. School classes and extracirricular events are still on their normal schedules, for the time being.
Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency for all of Alabama on Sunday, and ordered the evacuation of coastal portions of Baldwin and Mobile Counties.