Tropical Storm Kirk strengthened over the central Atlantic Wednesday as what was Hurricane Isaac weakened back into a tropical storm, but continued to bring heavy rain and wind to New Orleans.
As of 11 p.m., Kirk had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as it moved west-northwest at 9 mph about 1085 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and about 1,495 miles west-southwest of the Azores, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Kirk was expected to strengthen over the next two days and become a hurricane on Friday. But a turn toward the northwest and north-northwest was also expected on Thursday, followed by a turn toward the north on Friday.
The storm remained no threat to land and there were no watches or warnings in effect.
As of 3 p.m., Isaac had weakened to a tropical storm about 50 miles west-southwest of New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said.
As of 11 p.m., Isaac had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as it moved northwest at 6 mph about 15 miles south of Baton Rouge and about 70 miles west-northwest of New Orleans. But it was still dumping heavy rains, producing a significant storm surge and posing life-threatening hazards, the National Hurricane Center said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Cameron, Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Gov. Rick Scott said Florida has "been very fortunate" in avoiding major damage from Hurricane Isaac. He visited West Palm Beach on Wednesday and did a flyover of flooding that has affected western parts of Palm Beach County. Dozens of residents of The Acreage and Loxahatchee Grove have had their homes flooded. County officials have made a preliminary estimate of nearly $9 million in damages.
Still, Scott says the state was lucky. He said heading into Labor Day weekend, the biggest concern is the potential for "economic damage" from tourists staying away.
He planned to visit Key West later Wednesday to make a plea for visitors to return.
Meanwhile in New Orleans, Isaac continued to lash the area Wednesday, creating a dangerous storm surge and flood threat to the area as heavy rains were expected to continue throughout the day and into the night.
Isaac made its second landfall as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph at around 2:15 a.m. local time along the southeast Louisiana coast just west of Port Fourchon, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is expected to gradually weaken over the next 48 hours as it moves inland. But it's also expected to bring 7-14 inches of rainfall with possible isolated amounts of 25 inches over Louisiana, southern and central Mississippi, southwest Alabama and southern and central Arkansas, according to the NHC.