Tropical Storm Isaac officially became a Category 1 hurricane just hours ago. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu went live on television at noon local time to urge residents to remain vigilant and take safety precautions.
"We are officially in the fight," Landrieu said. "We ask you to hunker down."
Isaac is moving very slowly at 9 mph (14 kilometers per hour), which means the city could be pummeled by torrential rains and see gusts up to 125 mph (200 kph) over a 24- to 36-hour period, the mayor said.
Residents are taking the warnings seriously — boarding windows, sandbagging, and stocking up on emergency supplies in anticipation of several days without power — but are posting what could be deemed the lighter side of the impending storm.
A photo on Tumblr shows the boarded-up windows of a shingled two-story house in the city. Spray-painted on the plywood sheet: "Cat 1? C'mon man! ha ha."
Twitter user and New Orleans resident Dan Meyers posted what he says is his first batch of Isaac photos — the "entertaining" round, including a portable toilet strapped to a tree.
But it's photos like one posted on Instagram, showing a little girl wading through ankle-deep water, that would concern officials more. Landrieu said that even a Category 1 hurricane can kill. "Walking flooded streets where you can't see manhole covers can put you at risk of drowning," he said. All residents were urged to stay inside and off flood-prone streets, listed on the city's new website, NOLA Ready.
While remaining inside, Instagram user @chamodelosrios found a novel way to capture the storm in action. He posted an Instagram photo that shows two plastic-clad Go Pro cameras attached to what appears to be a telephone pole.
"Gonna run a time lapse with the gopros for #isaac hopefully it will turn out nice," he wrote.
For those interested in tracking Hurricane Isaac, Google has posted a "crisismap" that includes links to emergency services, updates and user-generated video on YouTube. When you enable videos and webcams, icons will appear on the map that correspond with footage — you can click to open a pop-up window to watch footage.