Hurricane Isaac has made landfall on Tuesday evening, slamming southeastern Louisiana with sustained winds of 80 mph and hitting an area more than 200 miles wide.
Experts have warned that although Isaac is only a category 1 hurricane the core concerns are flooding and extreme storm surges along the northern Gulf Coast.
It is expected that more than 20 inches of rainfall will be seen in some areas, and some storm surges could hit 10 to 12 feet.
One of the most worrying features of Hurricane Isaac is that it is moving so slowly - just 8 mph - which is allowing it to dump more rainfall for extended periods, increasing the likelihood of flooding.
Isaac has made landfall just hours prior to the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, has said, "The models show [Isaac's] forward speed slowing down, and that's not good. When a large system moves slowly, that means a lot of rainfall," according to ABC News.
Following New Orleans' horrendous experience seven years ago authorities are not taking any chances; the Federal Emergency Management Agency has already been working with officials in the areas affected for the past week.
President Barack Obama has said, "I want to encourage all residents of the Gulf Coast to listen to your local officials, and follow their directions, including if they tell you to evacuate. We're dealing with a big storm, and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously."
Isaac will be the first big challenge to the multi-billion dollar flood defenses put in place following Katrina, and troops and law enforcement officials have been deployed to the region to ensure the looting and chaos seen seven years ago is not repeated.
Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are also expected to be hit by big storm surges and heavy rainfall. Already reports are stating that nearly 70,000 people are without electricity in Louisiana.