NEW ORLEANS -- Tropical Storm Isaac churned toward the northern Gulf Coast early Monday, putting Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida under a hurricane warning.
If its Monday morning forecast track holds true, landfall in Louisiana would be one day shy of seven years after Hurricane Katrina struck catastrophically in 2005. Isaac, however, is expected to only be a Category 1 hurricane, unlike Katrina's Category 3 status.
Grocery and home improvement stores as well as fuel stations in Louisiana on Sunday reported brisk business as residents sought to prepare. Some businesses in New Orleans ran out of supplies.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency, and 53,000 residents of St. Charles Parish near New Orleans were told to leave ahead of the storm.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley also declared states of emergency.
Meanwhile, the oncoming storm stopped work on rigs that account for 24 percent of daily oil production in the U.S. potion of the Gulf of Mexico and eight percent of daily natural gas production there, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in its latest update Sunday.
A hurricane warning was in effect for an area that covers a roughly 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast in four states from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. Tropical storm warnings were effect for a section of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast from Morgan City to Intracoastal City. Tropical storm warnings were also in effect for many areas along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Amtrak cancelled train service in Louisiana for Tuesday and Wednesday. The route than runs from New York to New Orleans would end in Atlanta, while its route from Los Angeles to New Orleans would stop in San Antonio. Amtrak was also suspending part of its rail line between Miami and Orlando, Fla.
The Gulf Coast hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since 2008, when Dolly, Ike and Gustav all struck the region.
Before reaching Florida, Isaac was blamed for eight deaths in Haiti and two more in the Dominican Republic, and downed trees and power lines in Cuba. It bore down on the Keys two days after the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which caused more than $25 billion in damage and killed 26 people in South Florida.
View the latest tropical weather information on KHOU’s Hurricane Central.