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Watch Hurricane Isaac Grow and Slam Into Louisiana

A range of satellites are set to watch Isaac, giving a step-by-step look into the storm's evolution

smithsonian.com

Earlier this week, Isaac was a tropical storm traveling across the Gulf of Mexico. But starting last night, the shores of Louisiana were greeted with rising waves and gusting winds. The video above shows Isaac’s transformation into a Category 1 hurricane, as seen in minute-by-minute snapshots by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s (NOAA) GOES-14 satellite.

Nighttime imagery of Hurricane Isaac hanging offshore of southern Lousiana. Photo: Suomi NPP – VIIRS / NASA Earth Observatory

Picking up where NOAA’s video leaves off, NASA’s Suomi-NPP satellite captured this stunning high-resolution image of Isaac. Illuminated by moonlight, the city lights of Tampa and New Orleans shine brightly through the swirling clouds.

Early this morning, says the Washington Post, “Hurricane Isaac pounded through southeastern Louisiana… with 80 mph winds that sent water gushing over levees in marshy Plaquemines Parish and knocked out power to more than 400,000 homes and businesses.” That landfall was captured in images collected just this morning:

“NOAA’s GOES-13 image of Hurricane Isaac as it made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, LA”. Photo: NOAA

According to NOAA, Isaac is slated to make a hard right turn once on land, curling to douse Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois as it once again weakens into a tropical storm. For now, residents along the coast will need to stay safe. The most recent imagery shows the heaviest rainfall is just now making it on shore.

Satellite imagery of Isaac showing the concentration of water vapor in the storm, with purple being high and white low. Photo: NOAA

More from Smithsonian.com:
Hurricane Katrina: The Recovery of Artifacts and History
Snow and Hurricanes, the El Niño Connection
Hurricanes and the Color of the Oceans

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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