AUSTIN (KXAN) - Nearly year after the Labor Day wildfires in Central Texas, Tropical Storm Isaac poses a similar threat.
Tropical Storm Lee made landfall in Louisiana about the same time last year causing high winds to whip across Texas and fires to spread quickly.
Isaac, which could become a hurricane by Wednesday, is expected to hit near New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The latest weather models show it drifting into Northeast Texas, putting Austin on the outskirts of its gigantic wind field.
"It has a huge wind field," said KXAN chief weather forecaster Jim Spencer. "This wind field compares to what we saw with Katrina, and Katrina was already a major hurricane."
But, conditions in Central Texas are much different than September 2011. Rainfall and moisture have moved the region from the "exceptional drought" to the "moderate drought" category. Tropical Storm Lee also combined with a cold front to create 40 mph winds in Central Texas, and Tropical Storm Isaac is only projected to created 15-20 mph winds in the area.
The American Red Cross of Central Texas is preparing to send emergency response teams to the Gulf Coast to deliver food and supplies to the storm's victims but isn't ruling out wildfire risk resulting from the wind.
"Ahead of Isaac, we've been moving people, supplies, and technology to where they're going to be needed most for this storm," said Sara Kennedy of the American Red Cross of Central Texas. "Those winds could take one spark and turn it into a wildfire. We really want to play it safe."
The American Red Cross is also ready for people in Louisiana who may come to Texas to escape the storm.
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