Mandatory Evacuations Outside New Orleans As Isaac Nears

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Source: Miguel Llanos / NBC News

Residents in unprotected, low-lying areas outside New Orleans were evacuating Monday as Tropical Storm Isaac threatened to strengthen into a hurricane that could make landfall in or near Louisiana almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina struck.

It’s “trying to form an eye-like feature” but it’s “still a little bit shy of hurricane status,” National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said in a morning update.

At 65 mph, Isaac was just nine miles short of hurricane status and that should happen within the next 24 hours, Knabb added.

The governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi declared states of emergency as a hurricane warning went into effect for a roughly 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast in four states from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

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