Today, tropical storm Isaac became Hurricane Isaac. And the slow-moving storm, with sustained winds over 75 mph, looks to be on a collision course with the Gulf Coast. With many areas — New Orleans chiefly among them — still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, residents and public officials are stressing preparation before the storm strikes, bringing the potential for storm surge of up to 12 feet and up to 20 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service.
The AP video above shows how some are getting ready, which must be welcome news to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who earlier today stressed that people shouldn’t be relieved that the storm is only a category one hurricane. ”Do not let this storm lull you into complacency,” said Landrieu. “That would be a terrible mistake.”
One look at the storm’s size should make anyone think twice about taking this lightly.
This was taken by NASA this morning at 10:25 am.
On Twitter, FEMA noted that “FEMA mobile communications units are in Alabama & Mississippi to support #Isaac response efforts of state/local emergency managers” and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien sent out the below image of some Caterpillars “Building a road–last minute- for vehicles to drive over the makeshift levee.”
And, of course, it isn’t just the locals who are battening down the proverbial hatches.
Insurance companies are also making preparations, and some, including the Citizen Property Insurance Corporation, have already received claims from the storm hitting the Florida coast.
The storm leaves insurance companies with $36 billion in potential exposure to residential property, according to CoreLogic. And with New Orleans estimated to be the most expensive of major metro areas to feel the impact of Isaac, CoreLogic estimates the city could feel the affects of $30.44 billion in property damage due to storm surge.
In an interview with Insurance Networking News, Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, said he is confident insurers are prepared. “…the industry’s claims-paying capacity stands at record-levels, given the relatively few [catastrophe] losses suffered so far in 2012 – $9 billion for tornadoes and thunderstorms this year pales in comparison to the $26 billion incurred last year,” he said.
Some insurance companies, like Allstate, have reduced its homeowners’ exposure in Louisiana since Katrina hit in 2005. According to the Chicago Tribune, Allstate has been hiking rates and reducing exposure in vulnerable areas nationwide.
Hurricane Katrina – the most catastrophic hurricane in U.S. history – caused a total of $46.6 billion in property damage covered by private insurers and $16.1 billion in flood loss. So as Isaac approaches, insurance companies are encouraging policyholders to check their policies and make sure they have adequate coverage.
For the latest developments in New Orleans, you can stay tuned to the live feed of the local Fox affiliate.