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Isaac downgraded to tropical storm, but impacts continue

By: Angela Fritz , 10:10 PM GMT on August 29, 2012

Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm after losing some strength as its center is now due west of New Orleans. Isaac continues to inflict tropical storm-force winds along the coast from Louisiana to Alabama. Shell Beach, Louisiana has had sustained tropical storm-force winds since 2pm CDT on Tuesday and as of writing this, they continue to see sustained winds around 39 mph. Radar shows heavy rain is falling from central Louisiana east to Mobile, Alabama. The heaviest rain continues to fall on the east side of the storm. A particularly strong band of thunderstorms is training over Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi, extending around the storm to McComb, Mississippi, as well. Satellite imagery shows Isaac still has well-developed outflow at higher levels, and the (albeit messy) structure of the cyclone's core seems to be collapsing this afternoon, which illustrates the weakening trend we've seen in observations and from the Hurricane center.

Rainfall totals through 4pm CDT:
• Gretna, LA: 16.84"
• New Orleans Lakefront: 9.26"
• Gulfport, MS: 7.3"
• Mobile, AL: 6.86"

A personal weather station on Freret St. in New Orleans has recorded 20+ inches of rain since yesterday, as well.


Figure 1. Isaac as seen from the high-resolution Terra satellite Wednesday at 1:15pm EDT.

Water levels have decreased since this morning's high tide, though impacts will likely continue along the Mississippi River and coastal Mississippi and Alabama. The town of Braithwaite, Lousiana was inundated with water today as storm surge forced the river to spill over its walls. Rescue crews gathered people in boats and rafts, and in some cases, were forced to use axes on rooftops to get the people and pets out of their homes.

Below are some pictures collected from Twitter of Isaac's impacts today.


Downtown Biloxi, Mississippi inundated with water from Isaac's storm surge. (via @extremestorms)


Water reaches 10 feet high in Braithwaite, Lousiana. (via @jebetz)


Floodwall in Braithwaite holding back the river. (via @jebetz)

More pictures below to come from the AP and WunderPhotographers.

Angela

Hurricane Isaac Louisiana (apphotos)
Homes are flooded as Hurricane Isaac hits Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Braithwaite, La. As Isaac made landfall, it was expected to dump as much as 20 inches of rain in several parts of Louisiana. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Hurricane Isaac Louisiana
Hurricane Isaac Louisiana (apphotos)
People play in the storm surge from Hurricane Isaac, on Lakeshore Drive along Lake Pontchartrain, as the storm nears land, in New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Hurricane Isaac Louisiana
Hurricane Isaac Impacts Navarre Beach & Pier10 (jennjeff1)
Hurricane Isaac versus Navarre Beach Pier, the longest concrete pier on the Gulf of Mexico
Hurricane Isaac Impacts Navarre Beach & Pier10

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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1443. zoomiami
5:12 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


From the article:

"Mayor Whitney Rawlings of McComb, Miss., told CBS News that there was a "50-50 chance" of the dam failing at Lake Tangipahoa in Mississippi's Percy Quinn State Park, just south of McComb. He urged people south of the dam to evacuate.
"People need to be moving," Rawlings told CBS News.

In Louisiana, Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess issued an emergency alert warning of an "imminent failure" at the dam. Burgess said between 50,000-60,000 people had 90 minutes to evacuate, CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV reports."

Again, politicians should let EMA officials release official information. Still, you can see the difference in the statement between the McComb mayor and Parish President Gordie calling WWL directly and issuing his "90 minute" evacuation order. I'm really hoping people here will stick to sources like the local and state EMA's, as well as the NWS, and not take every word from a TV station, a politician, or social media as gospel.



You are assuming that everyone has access to all of the different groups you have listed. When anything of this type occurs, you should err on the side of caution. It is also not smart to assume that the majority has the ability to filter out the messages across 5 different mediums.
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1442. zoomiami
5:10 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting CJ5:


I agree with this for the most part, however, if my family lives below a dam I am going to act when I hear "Paul Reverie" ride down my street. I am not going to wait for everyone to brief each other so they can get a nice canned warning out to the press. The guy may have to change his story later, but his intentions of trying to save lives should not be taken lightly or demonized. Panic or not.


well said
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1441. sar2401
5:04 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting taco2me61:
I do know for a Cat1 storm it sure has been crazy here in the Mobile AL area, as well as MS / LA.... just saying




Taco :o(


That's for sure. More storms are about to hit the Mobile area, and the rainband is now spreading into central AL, with us being under a tornado watch. There's also a tertiary rainband developing off the Gulf and over the Panhandle, into south and central AL. Even as Isaac weakens, he's still spreading some mean weather several hundred miles to the east.
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1440. depalma13
5:01 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting WeatherfanPR:
This is an example of why we need to be careful with our comments.

This was posted here yesterday

3308. depalma13 2:31 PM GMT on August 28, 2012 +1

Quoting WeatherfanPR:
My thoughts and prayers with all in the path of Isaac. I hope the levees doesn't break this time.




If the levees break, than New Orleans should be abandoned forever. This is a Tropical Storm/barely Cat 1 Hurricane. It is not a life or death situation. It's time for everyone to stop panicing because of a little water and and wind.


I would like to know what are the thoughts of depalma13 right now.


My thoughts haven't changed at all. It was a Cat One storm. Flooding occurs in a Cat One Storm. Flooding occurs at a greater rate when you build homes below sea level.

You guys are all still upset you didn't get the Cat 4 or 5 monster you wished for. When you were told for days it would never be greater than a weak Cat 2. You are probably still upset it didn't increase to a Cat 2 before landing like you dreamed of.

This blog is filled with Chicken Littles.
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1439. sar2401
4:58 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting LurkyMcLurkerson:


What?

6 ft puts the river at ~17 ft. That's a catastrophic and historic flood with the "already swollen" river, which would then overflow all over the place. I live by a river that has had huge floods. When they're "already swollen," another foot or two can turn it into total catastrophe. You notice a foot when it's already too high, because it's over the banks and filling your friggin' neighborhood.

That 20 miles of farm is about 90 min warning for larger communities with that much water coming downstream, and the farmers ain't no worry, either.

Jindal confirmed that evac along the river in LA is mandatory and that the dam is not breached but is damaged, damage still being assessed.

"Don't panic" is always a good message, but one of the things in my experience that _feeds panic_ is feeling like the authorities are feeding you "nothing to see here" BS. I've lived that.

Done arguing over it. Folks close in below the dam should get out IMO regardless, because if it does fully breach, they won't have a whole lot of warning. And I hope everybody down there is safe and attentive, neither panicking nor thinking it's all just dandy no worries.


Agreed, although, again, the dam has not, and is not likey, to catastrophically fail, so the 6 foot number is the worst case. Still, there is plenty of time to evacuate if it's needed. My heartburn is one politician calling a TV station and issuing his own 90 minute evacuation order. It wasn't needed, spread panic, and made rumor control that much more difficult.
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1438. sar2401
4:53 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting flsky:
Updated statement as of 12:30 ETLink


From the article:

"Mayor Whitney Rawlings of McComb, Miss., told CBS News that there was a "50-50 chance" of the dam failing at Lake Tangipahoa in Mississippi's Percy Quinn State Park, just south of McComb. He urged people south of the dam to evacuate.
"People need to be moving," Rawlings told CBS News.

In Louisiana, Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess issued an emergency alert warning of an "imminent failure" at the dam. Burgess said between 50,000-60,000 people had 90 minutes to evacuate, CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV reports."

Again, politicians should let EMA officials release official information. Still, you can see the difference in the statement between the McComb mayor and Parish President Gordie calling WWL directly and issuing his "90 minute" evacuation order. I'm really hoping people here will stick to sources like the local and state EMA's, as well as the NWS, and not take every word from a TV station, a politician, or social media as gospel.

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1437. LurkyMcLurkerson
4:53 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


Until about 20 miles downstream, there is mostly pasture and farmland threatened. The total flow, even if the dam completely failed, which it hasn't, and it's not likely, would be about a 6 foot rise. Controlled releases will cause more on the order of a 1 foot rise. This will hardly be noticed in already flood swollen rivers.


What?

6 ft puts the river at ~17 ft. That's a catastrophic and historic flood with the "already swollen" river, which would then overflow all over the place. I live by a river that has had huge floods. When they're "already swollen," another foot or two can turn it into total catastrophe. You notice a foot when it's already too high, because it's over the banks and filling your friggin' neighborhood.

That 20 miles of farm is about 90 min warning for larger communities with that much water coming downstream, and the farmers ain't no worry, either.

Jindal confirmed that evac along the river in LA is mandatory and that the dam is not breached but is damaged, damage still being assessed.

"Don't panic" is always a good message, but one of the things in my experience that _feeds panic_ is feeling like the authorities are feeding you "nothing to see here" BS. I've lived that.

Done arguing over it. Folks close in below the dam should get out IMO regardless, because if it does fully breach, they won't have a whole lot of warning. And I hope everybody down there is safe and attentive, neither panicking nor thinking it's all just dandy no worries.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1436. taco2me61
4:51 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
I do know for a Cat1 storm it sure has been crazy here in the Mobile AL area, as well as MS / LA.... just saying




Taco :o(
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1435. StormDrain
4:50 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting aislinnpaps:
Some places are using Facebook as official places to go for information, for example Hurlburt AFB has an official facebook page letting them know what is opened, where to get sandbags, who has to come in, etc. I think we're going to see more use of FB in official capacities.

Yes. Many state and county emergency management offices use facebook. So does NWS. During the 2011 Mississippi River flood, lots of official info came out from Parish, county and COE on facebook pages. As a side note, Reed Timmer may not be "official" but I sure monitor his tweets when tornadoes threaten.
:)

Add: Ps LOL. New blog. Ho hum... Bye bye)
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1434. CFLsurfer122
4:48 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Long time lurker first time poster. Thanks to everyone for the input for all the storms..Hopefully this new one forming will do the classic re-curve and give all the wave starved east coast surfers some waves with out striking any land. I feel bad for always getting exciting seeing these storms form up and all I can think is waves. But looking the images from Issac's destruction on the Gulf Coast makes me think otherwise. Those poor people Katrina wipes them out then now Issac.

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1433. sar2401
4:46 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting midgulfmom:
Listened to resident along the LA portion of the river that called the local TV station who was affected in 1983. Said he is leaving with family. During the 1983 break many were trapped in their homes and he lost some cattle to drowning... Just saying past experience would say to evac but not to panic but prepare to leave in caution.


Correct. This dam had a much bigger failure in 1983 and no lives were lost. As I have already posted, it's pasture and crop land that would be flooded in the event of an uncontrolled failure. The people who live along the river are aware of the dangers from this dam.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1432. MTWX
4:46 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting aislinnpaps:


I am lake property, but not lakefront. Our lake is always lowered prior to a hurricane or TS. I wonder if they did that with this lake prior to Isaac?


It's not a lake dam that can be opened and closed. Most of our state park lakes are creek fed and have and overflow culvert on the downstream end.

When rains like this occur, the culvert cannot release the water as fast as it's coming in.... creating the problems mentioned.
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1431. flsky
4:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Updated statement as of 12:30 ETLink
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1430. SunnyDaysFla
4:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting EcoLogic:
Isaac has deposited a bunch of frigate birds in Pensacola (Cuba being the nearest portion of their range). A bunch are hanging like kites over Bayfront Parkway downtown.


Frigate birds nest off Cedar Key Florida. I was amazed to see them there a couple years ago.
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1429. 7544
4:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
looking at the last gfs anything forms after td 12 will follow the same path as kirk and td 12 so we can relax for now but it will be interesting to see if td 12 gets further west in the next 24 hours ,and misses the weakness but oscar may be a surpise to all imo
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1428. LargoFl
4:44 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
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1427. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:44 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1426. GTcooliebai
4:44 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
This is new 1006 mb. low pressure in the SW Caribbean in 348 hrs.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1425. WhoDatRR
4:43 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
So, my cousin who just lost her home in LaPlace is now hunkered down with my uncle. And he lives East of Hammond. Hope that levee doesn't break.

BTW, both of these areas have historically been safe.

Cat-1? Wow!
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1424. LargoFl
4:42 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
the dam at pike county,ms............
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1423. midgulfmom
4:42 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting EcoLogic:
Isaac has deposited a bunch of frigate birds in Pensacola (Cuba being the nearest portion of their range). A bunch are hanging like kites over Bayfront Parkway downtown.
Shrimpers in LA say when they see those offshore they know it's time to leave....
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1422. GeorgiaStormz
4:41 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


Until about 20 miles downstream, there is mostly pasture and farmland threatened. The total flow, even if the dam completely failed, which it hasn't, and it's not likely, would be about a 6 foot rise. Controlled releases will cause more on the order of a 1 foot rise. This will hardly be noticed in already flood swollen rivers. It's one thing for a politician to comment on a potential dam failure, it's quite another to say you have 90 minutes to get out or you're all going to die. People also die when engaged in panicked evacuations that have no basis in fact from traffic accidents.


Mississippi is breaching the lake to lessen the the threat so.
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1421. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:41 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
overland 09L

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1420. LargoFl
4:41 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
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1419. sar2401
4:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting CJ5:


I agree with this for the most part, however, if my family lives below a dam I am going to act when I hear "Paul Reverie" ride down my street. I am not going to wait for everyone to brief each other so they can get a nice canned warning out to the press. The guy may have to change his story later, but his intentions of trying to save lives should not be taken lightly or demonized. Panic or not.


Until about 20 miles downstream, there is mostly pasture and farmland threatened. The total flow, even if the dam completely failed, which it hasn't, and it's not likely, would be about a 6 foot rise. Controlled releases will cause more on the order of a 1 foot rise. This will hardly be noticed in already flood swollen rivers. It's one thing for a politician to comment on a potential dam failure, it's quite another to say you have 90 minutes to get out or you're all going to die. People also die when engaged in panicked evacuations that have no basis in fact from traffic accidents.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1418. aislinnpaps
4:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


They are lowering the level of the lake behind the dam with controlled releases. The dam may still fail but it's not likely to fail catastrophically. The amount of people downstream is minimal for over 20 miles. The amount of water being released will hardly be noticed in rivers already running out of their banks. Anyone in danger of flooding should have already been gone. This not the time to panic.


I am lake property, but not lakefront. Our lake is always lowered prior to a hurricane or TS. I wonder if they did that with this lake prior to Isaac?
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1417. aislinnpaps
4:38 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Some places are using Facebook as official places to go for information, for example Hurlburt AFB has an official facebook page letting them know what is opened, where to get sandbags, who has to come in, etc. I think we're going to see more use of FB in official capacities.

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1416. LargoFl
4:38 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting LargoFl:
•One inch of rain falling on 1 acre of ground is equal to about 27,154 gallons..USGS
and some places already have recieved 14-16 inches
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1415. LargoFl
4:37 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
•One inch of rain falling on 1 acre of ground is equal to about 27,154 gallons..USGS
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1414. EcoLogic
4:37 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Isaac has deposited a bunch of frigate birds in Pensacola (Cuba being the nearest portion of their range). A bunch are hanging like kites over Bayfront Parkway downtown.
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1413. coondini
4:36 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting DataNerd:



You forgot rita and wilma.

"Here are the two season's to-date tale of the tape:"

Reading is a good thing.
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1412. StormDrain
4:35 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting LurkyMcLurkerson:


Yep, the stuff at NWS doesn't match entirely with MEMA, either. This looks at the very least to me like a pretty bad communication screw-up between MEMA, NWS, and LA officials.

Jindal is confirming the mandatory evac order right now in press conference.
Clearly LA issued a mandatory evac order.

?? if MS has.

NWS is issuing flash flood emergency warnings.
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1411. GeorgiaStormz
4:34 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting 7544:
when could we 99l ?


When it forms

anytime
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1410. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:34 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
T.C.F.W.
12L/TC/L/CX
MARK
14.25N/44.40W
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1409. sar2401
4:33 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting farupnorth:
Pike County Civil Defense/Emergency Management
48 minutes ago
Flood warning for the Tangipahoa River at Osyka. The dam at Lake Tangipahoa, better known as Percy Quin State Park, has been damaged by the torrential rains from Hurricane Isaac, but is intact, and is not leaking. We are monitoring it.
All residents below the dam that live along the Tangipahoa River are being notified of the damage.

Source : Link


From the same Facebook page:

Pam Duncan: Homeland Security said it had been Breeched on TV !!! He said GET OUT NOW !!!

This is what I mean by spreading panic.
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1408. LargoFl
4:33 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
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1407. DataNerd
4:33 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
With Kirk now a hurricane, 2012 is a day ahead of 2005 for the number of named storms, and tied with that year for the number of hurricanes. However, that's about where the comparison ends. Here are the two season's to-date tale of the tape:

2012
Chris: Cat 1 / ACE 2.7675
Ernesto: Cat 1 / ACE 7.6625
Gordon: Cat 2 / ACE 8.19
Isaac: Cat 1 / ACE 9.4425
Kirk: Cat 1 / ACE 1.6575 (and counting)
Total ACE from hurricanes: 29.72

2005
Cindy: Cat 1 / ACE 1.52
Dennis: Cat 4 / ACE 18.8
Emily: Cat 5 / ACE 32.9
Irene: Cat 2 / ACE 13.1
Katrina: Cat 5 / ACE 20.0
Total ACE from hurricanes: 86.32

And that's not even looking at deaths or damage, both of which were, of course, vastly higher in 2005, both by a factor of nearly 100-to-1.



You forgot rita and wilma.
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1406. CJ5
4:32 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


Us EM guys were the ones who actually knew the facts. Politicians didn't know squat until we briefed them. Politicians are not competent to be releasing information to the press, and are not supposed to. It's all this "information" coming from different sources that causes panic. Add in all the retrainmission and embellishment caused by people on social media and you spread a full blown panic.


I agree with this for the most part, however, if my family lives below a dam I am going to act when I hear "Paul Reverie" ride down my street. I am not going to wait for everyone to brief each other so they can get a nice canned warning out to the press. The guy may have to change his story later, but his intentions of trying to save lives should not be taken lightly or demonized. Panic or not.
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1405. LargoFl
4:31 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
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1404. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:31 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting 7544:
when could we 99l ?
next
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1403. midgulfmom
4:31 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


They are lowering the level of the lake behind the dam with controlled releases. The dam may still fail but it's not likely to fail catastrophically. The amount of people downstream is minimal for over 20 miles. The amount of water being released will hardly be noticed in rivers already running out of their banks. Anyone in danger of flooding should have already been gone. This not the time to panic.
Listened to resident along the LA portion of the river that called the local TV station who was affected in 1983. Said he is leaving with family. During the 1983 break many were trapped in their homes and he lost some cattle to drowning... Just saying past experience would say to evac but not to panic but prepare to leave in caution.
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1402. aislinnpaps
4:29 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
A week ago today I was looking at where to put a bunch of evacuees from Hurlburt AFB. So much changed in one week. Now I sit waiting for the last of Isaac to move out of my area.
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1401. LargoFl
4:28 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
10,000 sandbags will be available at 130 today at the Harrison County Road Center on Lorraine Road.
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1400. Vlad959810
4:28 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting unknowncomic:
Will TD12 follow Kirk?

A hurricane never follow the other
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1399. LargoFl
4:26 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
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1398. sar2401
4:26 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting CJ5:


I am not going to fault a man, who is an official for his Parrish, to sound the alarm that a dam may break. You EM guys may not like it but when you are talking about a dam and the potential loss of live minutes make a difference.


Us EM guys were the ones who actually knew the facts. Politicians didn't know squat until we briefed them. Politicians are not competent to be releasing information to the press, and are not supposed to. It's all this "information" coming from different sources that causes panic. Add in all the retransmission and embellishment caused by people on social media and you spread a full blown panic.
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1397. FatPenguin
4:25 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) %u2014 Louisiana officials have ordered evacuation of low-lying, sparsely-populated areas along the Tangipahoa River because an Isaac-hammered dam at a state park lake in southwest Mississippi near the Louisiana border is in danger of failing.
Officials in Tangipahoa Parish, La., fear the water it would pour into the already swollen river would flood low-lying areas downstream from the park.

But Mississippi officials say they don't believe the volume of water in the 700-acre lake at Percy Quin State Park near McComb, Miss., would add enough flow to threaten communities downstream.
Source

Not saying that people shouldn't get out of the way as a precautionary measure, but this isn't Boulder Dam and Lake Mead; it's a low earthen levee containing a shallow one-square-mile lake.


Understand what you're saying, but considering the rainfall totals from Isaac I would be concerned about any sudden release of water.
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1396. HopquickSteve
4:25 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
No offense, but it's never time to "panic", but it is time to act. That's what the words:

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
CIVIL EMERGENCY MESSAGE

It's greater than the flash flood warning before. K?
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1395. LurkyMcLurkerson
4:24 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting MTWX:
That excerpt is from NWS...


Yep, the stuff at NWS doesn't match entirely with MEMA, either. This looks at the very least to me like a pretty bad communication screw-up between MEMA, NWS, and LA officials.

Jindal is confirming the mandatory evac order right now in press conference.
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1394. SrChiefFan1
4:24 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
Quoting midgulfmom:
Dam being patched....MS official argueing with local TV station that "danger imminent" but evac is "encouraged" but not mandatory...??????? Really? What is this craziness? Reporter trying to get official to clarify what MS wants people to do. Official said "don't chance it but not mandatory" also said Dam is damaged but relieving pressure slowly by lowering water level. My translation..."Don't PANIC but panic"...still trying to clarify with official... Any engineers available? WTHeck?


Typical for MS EOC. Their coordination of events are always confusion. I agree with SAR that I would focus on reports coming from MEMA or NWS...
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1393. 7544
4:23 PM GMT on August 30, 2012
when could we 99l ?
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