Hurricane Isaac reached hurricane level Tuesday afternoon on its path west toward the Gulf area and is expected to have its biggest impact on southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southwest Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. But its stormy weather and human effects are being felt by some residents.
Although Georgia is no longer in the path of Isaac, the state will still experience scattered thunderstorms, gusty winds and occasional lightning throughout the week. Temperatures this week will reach the mid-80s with lows in the 60s. According to NWS, the rain is expected to end by Tuesday.
For some residents with family and friends in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast area, this storm holds traumatic echos of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit.
New Orleans native and Conyers resident Janice Morris said all of her extended family except one sister had evacuated from Louisiana and made their way either up to Georgia or to the west. However, that sister who stayed behind was recently ordered to leave as well, said Morris.
Though the family is no stranger to the upheaval of fleeing a storm - they evacuated the year after Katrina for Gustav - it's still traumatic. The family wept as they watched the news and the approaching storm, said Morris.
"Now they're going through it again," she said. "The ones who got here, they stayed at my mom's house. She says she feels better if they're all at one place."
She said of the family members that evacualted, "They say if it hits the same way it did the last two times, they're not going back... We're watching it closely."
Residents need to be alert for dangerous storms, including the possibility of isolated tornadoes, said Sheriff Jeff Wigington, Rockdale's Emergency Management director.
Minor flooding in low laying areas, especially around Yellow River, could also be possibility. The county is expected to average one to three inches of rainfall through Friday, though higher amounts are expected during thunderstorms, according to NWS.
“Now is an excellent time to review your severe weather plans,” said Wigington. “Take time to check your storm kit for necessary items, including food, water, flashlights with batteries, and medical and hygiene supplies. Make sure everyone in your family or business knows what to do if severe weather hits.”
Residents should have a three day supply of food, water and medical supplies in case of a power outage. A disaster supply kit should also include emergency tools and special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members. Those in low-lying or flood-prone areas should pack supplies in waterproof containers.
Check your NOAA weather radio for batteries, and stay alert to changes in the weather. Make sure you have copies of insurance policies and other contacts in a safe area.
Additionally, if you have Labor Day weekend plans, avoid driving on roads with standing water.
Georgia's Emergency Management website, ready.ga.gov, also issued the following advice from their website:
•Purchase a kit of emergency supplies and prepare a portable ready kit in case you have to evacuate, visit ready.ga.gov to learn how.
•Prepare to secure your property
•Bring all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down inside
•If you have a vehicle, fill the gas tank in case you have to evacuate.
Other ideas for storm kits can be found at www.ready.ga.gov. A mobile “app” is also available at this site for access to information quickly.
Gas prices on the rise
Another way local residents could feel the effects of Hurricane Isaac is in the form of higher gas prices.
Some gas price analysts predicted a rise in prices which could put a damper on Labor Day traveling plans. According to the Oil Price Information Service, wholesale prices jumped by a national average of almost eight cents a gallon Monday. AtlantaGasPrices.com said average gas prices around the Atlanta area rose 6.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.77 a gallon Tuesday.
Refineries in the Gulf have been closing down in anticipation of Isaac, but experts predict those to re-open quickly AAA (American Automobile Association) predicts gas prices could jump by 20 cents after the hurricane reaches Louisiana. The Oil Price Information Service, however, predicted a lesser price hike of only a few cents and expects the national average to reach $3.80 by Friday.
For more information visit ready.ga.gov, fema.gov or forecast.weather.gov.
Disclaimer: Information was collected as of press time Tuesday; weather predictions and gas prices may have change since that time.