August 28th, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac inland flood risk concern; Sen. Vitter evacuates family

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien anchors Starting Point live from New Orleans as Tropical Storm Isaac approaches the Gulf Coast. CNN National Correspondent David Mattingly, CNN Weather Anchor Rob Marciano, National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) give updates on and preparedness for the storm.

Sen. Vitter, who evacuated his family, says, “My biggest concern actually is not with the system that’s been built since Katrina, it’s with all of those areas outside that system. You know we really built the system for the last storm, the last war, there are major populated areas outside that system.”

Knabb says, “This whole swath of moisture could drop a lot of rain for a lot of people. And that’s the inland flood risk that we’re really concerned about. Inland flooding has been responsible for a lot of fatalities. It’s not just going to be a coastal event.”

Marciano says, “The rainfall is going to be excessive. Take a look at what we expect for forecast rainfall tallies. Anywhere from 10 to in some cases 18 inches of rain expected…. This is probably going to be a longer duration event than Hurricane Katrina. I know we keep making these comparisons to Katrina. This is a weaker storm…. But it’s moving a little bit slower…. The question is really, Soledad, is we think the levees will hold up, but how about those pump systems? They are only designed to pump out about an inch of water per hour and during a tropical storm or hurricane you can get rainfall rates at 3-4 inches per hour, so, I think it’s likely that we’re going to see some flooding. The question is how bad is it going to be.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.