Word from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) this morning is that Isaac – on the verge of hurricane status – poses a significant storm surge and freshwater flood threat to the northern Gulf coast.

The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters. The water could reach the following depths above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…”

NHC is projecting potential storm surge levels as follows:

- Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi: 6 to 12 ft

- Alabama: 4 to 8 ft

- South-central Louisiana: 3 to 6 ft

- Florida Panhandle: 3 to 6ft

- Florida West Coast including Apalachee Bay: 1 to 3 ft

Remember a recent report from CoreLogic warned that over four million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are at risk of hurricane-driven storm-surge damage, with more than $700 billion in total property exposure.

Along the Gulf coast, there are just under 1.8 million homes at risk, valued at nearly $200 billion, CoreLogic said.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reminds us that the top 10 most costly flood events in the U.S. ranked by National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payouts are associated with hurricanes or tropical storms.

Here’s a satellite animation of Isaac’s path through the Caribbean and into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, courtesy of NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite: