President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana as that state prepares for Tropical Storm Isaac.
The White House said Obama informed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal of the emergency declaration in a phone call Monday. The declaration makes federal funding available for emergency activities related to the storm. Obama also spoke with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Obama has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts with state and local officials along the Gulf Coast.
At 5 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Isaac was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft about 250 miles southwest of Tampa. Isaac is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 kmh) and this general motion is expected to continue Monday evening with a gradual decrease in forward speed.
Forecasters predict Isaac will intensify into a Category 1 hurricane later Monday or Tuesday, with a projected path directly toward New Orleans on Wednesday. Isaac could become the first hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since 2008.
Maximum sustained winds have increased and are now near 70 mph (110 kmh) with higher gusts.