Tropical Storm "Isaac" Monday evening update - FOX 32 News Chicago

Tropical Storm "Isaac" Monday evening update

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Tropical storm "Isaac" is strengthening. As of 4:00 PM CDT the winds have increased to 70 mph.

When the winds reach 75 mph "Isaac" will be classified as a hurricane. The storm is located 255 miles SE of the opening to the Mississippi River in Louisiana and is moving Northwest at 12 mph. The central pressure has dropped to 981mb and the storm is becoming better organized.

The same trough that passed Chicago Sunday night and produced heavy rain will be one of the steering mechanisms that guide "Isaac" toward landfall near New Orleans. The storm is expected to come ashore as a strong Category 1 storm with winds between 75 and 95 mph or possibly a weak Category 2 storm with winds between 96 and 110 mph. It will continue to strengthen right up to the time of landfall due to the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.

The only possibility for any weakening may come from some dry air at upper levels of the atmosphere just northeast of the storm. Should this mix into the storm it could weaken.

For a real-time, interactive look at Hurricane Isaac: MyFOXHurricane.com

There is also concern about the storm surge which is the increased height of ocean water created by the storm. High tide is expected at the time of landfall and the surge over parts of Louisiana and coastal Mississippi could reach 10-12 feet above normal. This is below the height of the levees in New Orleans, but could cause destruction to beachfront areas of nearby Mississippi.

The track is similar to both hurricanes Katrina and Andrew pictured here. Both of those storms were August hurricanes. On August 24th, 1992 Andrew made its famous landfall at Homestead, Florida, but it also made landfall two days later on the 26th in Louisiana. On August 25th, 2005 Katrina made its first landfall in Florida, then crossed into the Gulf of Mexico and quickly intensified to a Category 5 storm in just 9 hours. Katrina made its second and infamous landfall in Louisiana as a strong Category 3 storm on August 29th.

"Isaac" is not expected to cause the devastation seen with either of those two storms, but it is considered a dangerous storm and there will be wind and water damage across the area. By Saturday and Sunday of next weekend the drought stricken areas of Illinois and Indiana may see some much needed rain from the remnants of "Isaac".

That rain could reach as far north as Chicago. Follow the latest on "Isaac" here at Myfoxchicago.com or on Twitter @TammieSouza or on Facebook: foxchicagoweather

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