Tropical Storm Isaac is on the verge of becoming a hurricane. Significant storm surge and freshwater flood threaten the northern Gulf Coast.
by Ed Lallo//Louisiana Seafood News
Tropical Storm Isaac has changed course, putting New Orleans at the center of a potential crisis for the third time in less than ten years. The storm is projected to reach landfall near the Crescent City as early as Tuesday night, almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
According to the Associated Press, forecasters said Isaac would intensify into a Category One hurricane — far less powerful than Katrina in 2005
Early Tuesday morning Isaac was approaching New Orleans at approximately 12 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two with a decrease in forward speed. The center will be near or over the Louisiana coast Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Terrabone parish shrimper Lance Nacio, who possesses the domineering spirit of the Louisiana seafood industry in facing natural disasters, sees a possible positive effect for the fishing industry from the oncoming storm.
“When a storm like this comes in, the fishing often gets better,” said Nacio, who has been working the near shore waters for 15 years. “It brings in shrimp from offshore and stirs up the “dead zones”.
“Dead zones” are areas of water that lack sufficient oxygen. Fish avoid these areas or die in them.
The National Hurricane Center said Isaac was expected to have top winds of around 95 mph when it hits land. Katrina’s winds reached a high of more than 157 mph when it hit on Aug. 29, 2005.
“We had some phenomenal fishing after Katrina, with excellent quality,” said Nacio, who has his boat securely tied and generators at the ready in preparation. “We went out three days after Katrina and caught 12,000 pounds of 16- to 20-size shrimp.”
According to Nacio “the natural disasters you learn to live with; it is the man-made disasters that are much more devastating.”
“If you live in South Louisiana, storms like this are part of what we live with. We are blessed with all the resources we have and we have learned a lot form previous events,” he said. “We know how to prepare for this one and what steps we will need to take on the road to recovery.”
If the storm hits during high tide, it could push floodwaters as deep as 12 feet on shore in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama causing possible damage to the fragile coastal actuaries.