Tropical Storm Isaac is predicted to make landfall on late Tuesday as a fully blown hurricane. Hurricane Isaac's current path would see it hit near southeastern Louisiana.
As Isaac bears down on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday its storm continues to intensify with strong winds becoming more powerful and rainfall becoming heavier. It is likely to test the region's new flood control systems that were put in place following the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
In the coming hours tropical storm winds will already smash into the region, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, and regions 200 miles out from Isaac's center will be hit due to the size of the storm.
It looks increasingly likely that Hurricane Isaac will follow the path of Katrina and strike New Orleans, which is still recovering from the devastation it experienced seven years ago on Aug. 29, 2005. At that time more than 1,800 people were killed and billions of dollars of damage was caused.
It is believed Isaac will cause extensive flooding in cities and towns in at least three Gulf Coast states, and a storm surge of up to 12 feet is currently being touted. Heavy rainfall could see as much as 18 inches in some areas, which will spark further flooding across coastal regions.
Katrina was a category 3 hurricane, but at the moment Isaac is still predicted to only become a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of about 90 mph. However, Isaac's size and slow moving pace could cause serious issues across the Gulf Coast, and flooding will be one of the major concerns.
Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb has told reporters,"Even if it is a tropical storm at landfall, the large size of it will still generate significant storm surge. That is life-threatening potentially."
On early Tuesday morning Isaac was centered about 145 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with top sustained winds of 70 mph - which is bordering on hurricane status already. It is moving northwest at a speed of just 12 mph. The storm has grown to become about 400 miles wide, meaning areas far out from its center will still be severely affected, and many experts are suggesting that Mississippi and Alabama could face the sternest tests.
So far Isaac has caused at least 22 deaths as it hit through Haiti and the Dominican Republic and smashed through the southern tip of Florida on Sunday night.