US tropical storm follows track of Katrina as thousands evacuate the coast
Tropical storm Isaac is heading towards the Gulf Coast of the United States having already killed 21 people – two in the Dominican Republic and 19 in Haiti.
American states Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have declared states of emergency in preparation for the storm, which is expected to grow into a category one hurricane by the time it reaches the USA, predicted to be Tuesday night or Wednesday.
Dr Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Centre, explained the path that the storm is likely to follow. He voiced his concerns regarding the likelihood of flooding inland, which he said could reach heights of between six and 12 feet along the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines.
Hurricane Katrina swept over New Orleans, Louisiana, on the 29th of August 2005, killing over 1,800 people and leaving a trail of destruction. Many have expressed their concern at the way the two dates have coincided.
Mississippi governor Phil Bryant said: “It is difficult to realise that to the day – seven years after Katrina – another hurricane is headed our way.”
The mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, agreed saying: “The timing, as fate would have it, on the anniversary of Katrina has everybody in a state of alertness, but that is a good thing.”
Residents along the Gulf Coast have been securing their homes and stockpiling supplies of bottled water and canned food, with supermarkets becoming overcrowded.
Mandatory evacuations began on Monday morning, with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal warning: “If anyone is thinking about evacuating, today is the day to do it.”