(Newsroom America) -- Residents and authorities in New Orleans braced for the onslaught of Tropical Storm Isaac on Tuesday, though no mandatory evacuations were ordered ahead of what forecasters say should be a Category 2 storm by the time Isaac reaches landfall.
The current storm is following an ominously similar path taken by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a Category 5 monster that destroyed large swaths of the city and left some 1,800 people dead.
Perhaps mindful of the criticism dished out to President George W. Bush, who left early preparations for Katrina in the hands of state officials prior to Katrina's landfall, President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared Louisiana a disaster area prior to Isaac's arrival, a declaration that allows federal emergency funding to flow to the state.
At 10:00 EDT, Weather.com reported Isaac's wind speed at about 74 miles per hour, adding that the storm was lumbering through the Gulf of Mexico moving northwest towards the Big Easy at about 7 miles per hour.
Forecasters said the storm will impact Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama coastlines the hardest, with as much as 20 inches of rainfall and storm surges of as high as 12 feet.
Authorities in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast say they are better prepared for Isaac than when Katrina swept in seven years ago.
Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, reporting from New Orleans for Weather.com, said forecasters are concerned about Isaac's slow push across the gulf.
"I don't like that it's slowed down," she said, "because that means it can just build up more surge. That is the problem with these big systems that move slowly."
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