The National Hurricane Center confirms Isaac reaches Category 1 hurricane strength -- and getting stronger -- as it heads toward landfall near New Orleans.
It is a very large storm with tropical storm force winds that extend up to 205miles from the center. Because it is so large, it has been slow to strengthen.
The inner core is becoming better organized and the storm should soon be a hurricane.
The center of the storm is forecast to move onshore late tonight/early Wednesday AM as a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85mph. This is slightly lower than previous advisories. Isaac will slow down as it moves towards the coast and moves onshore, therefore this is going to be a prolonged event.
Heavy rain is one of the biggest threats. Widespread rainfall amounts of 7-14” possible, locally up to 20”. A storm surge between 6-12’ is possible along the SE coast of Louisiana and the Mississippi Coast. Tornadoes are also possible as outer rain bands move onshore.