On August 26, 2012 the Governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama each declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Isaac churned through the Straits of Florida as a slowly strengthening storm. Florida declared a state of emergency on August 25.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAís Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the threatening storm at 1815 UTC (2:15 p.m. EDT) on August 26, when Tropical Storm Isaac was soaking southeast Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba with heavy rain. Wind shear from an upper-level low pressure system lying to the southwest of Isaac was slowing the stormís westward progression, as well as hindering strengthening of the storm.
Just before this image was captured, at 1800 UTC (2:00 p.m. EDT) the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Tropical Storm Isaac carried maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h) and was located about 50 mi (85 km) south southeast of Key West Florida and about 75 mi (120 km) northeast of Havana Cuba. The storm was moving west northwest at 18 mph (30 km/h), heading towards the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico where conditions were more favorable for strengthening.
Tropical Storm Isaac has already impacted the Lesser Antilles, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, causing significant coastal flooding, road closures and power outages, as well as deaths. At least nineteen deaths have been reported in Haiti alone, where about 5,000 people were evacuated due to flooding. On August 26, the Haitian government reported that 13,500 people were living in emergency shelters. Winds and rain also affected southeast Florida and the Florida Keys, but impacts were relatively mild.
At 0322 UTC (11:22 p.m. EDT) the NHC reported that the center of the Isaac was located about 285 miles southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana, and moving northwest at 10 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were 70 mph (110 km/h). When sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour, Isaac will become a Category 1 hurricane. This transition is expected to happen early on August 28, with strengthening continuing as Isaac approaches landfall.
Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to continue moving slowly northwest towards the central Gulf coast for the next few days, making landfall near the southwest pass of the Mississippi River late on August 28, bringing very heavy rain and significant storm surge to the region. Surges of up to 6-12 feet are predicted in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.