Tropical Storm Isaac hasn’t gone through the explosive strengthening that sometimes happens when cyclones tap the warms waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s still forecast to grow into a hurricane (perhaps as soon as the next National Hurricane Center advisory) before it makes landfall tonight along the Louisiana coast, with a substantial storm surge, high winds and torrential rains. But if the immediate coastal area avoids the extreme effects of a more powerful storm — and if New Orleans’ new levees and, more importantly, it’s new pumping systems, hold up — Isaac’s copious tropical moisture may actually be a good thing on balance, bringing some long-awaited relief to the drought stricken areas of the southeast and mid-Mississippi Valley.
Here’s the most recent national drought map:
And here’s the latest forecast for rainfall totals from Isaac:
It’s only a partial silver lining though. Larges swaths of the eastern U.S. will get much- needed rain, but specific areas are likely to get ridiculous downpours with unwanted and destructive flooding.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.