President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana as Isaac, a tempest of wind and water barreling toward the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, has been upgraded to a hurricane.

Louisiana’s emergency status means local authorities can use federal funds and resources to prepare for the storm.

Isaac has reached winds of at least 75 miles per hour and is likely to hit the Gulf Coast by Tuesday night, landing at New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


Officials have not ordered any evacuations, telling residents to reinforce their homes and stock up on supplies instead.

The bowl-shaped city of New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to storms, with the centre of the city the furthest below sea-level.

Residents are hoping that billions of dollars spent on reinforcing flood defences that failed catastrophically in 2005 will hold this time.

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