Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isaac strengthens into a hurricane

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened into a hurricane just off the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday as it churned toward landfall in the New Orleans area seven years after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac's winds, rain and storm surge could pose a major test of New Orleans' new flood control systems and reinforced levees. Forecasts from the U.S. National Hurricane Center showed the storm coming ashore late on Tuesday.

"Isaac has finally formed into a hurricane, so we are officially in the fight and the city of New Orleans is on the front lines," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told reporters.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to close for the first time the massive new floodgate on the largest storm-surge barrier in the world, at Lake Borgne, east of New Orleans. Read More