The good news this morning is the NHC still doesn't think Isaac has strengthened to hurricane strength. That's encouraging given that it's been out over the open Gulf for 24 hours. You can see here that it's not especially organized. There's no discernible eyewall. But the colors are pretty.
Meanwhile I'm seeing some reporters tweet that the city of New Orleans won't be issuing any mandatory evacuations. That's a relief to those of us who have resolved to stay in any but the absolute worst case scenario. We like to think we're grown up enough to make our own decisions without having to endure the bullying posture officials tend to take in these situations for political reasons.
At the moment, though, it looks like everyone gets to make their own decisions. And that's fine. People can start their parties and stuff. Or they can pack up and go visit "Fred and Myrtle" as Bob Breck kept telling us yesterday.
But if you're planning to ride out Isaac in town, you should know that hurricanes, whatever their strength, are scary. Even if we're confident our levees will hold and our pumps will work, there will definitely be wind and there will definitely be a lot of rain. Streets will flood. The power will go out. These storms can also spawn tornadoes. That can make the 75 mile per hour gusts you hear in the middle of the night seem all the more threatening.
In short, it's not as fun as you might think. I've attended a number of "hurricane parties" over the years and the only one of those I have a particularly fond memory of was Ivan in 2004 when it barely even rained here. In a way, I think New Orleans needs to go through a minor storm like Isaac just to remind everyone that we can still stand it. But if you are staying, don't be surprised if it's not exactly the sparkling social occasion you might have been hoping for.