POSTED: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Monday, August 27, 2012 - 9:02am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Tropical Storm Isaac is gaining strength as it heads through the Gulf of Mexico toward Louisiana.
Already the storm has left thousands in Florida without power.
Hundreds of flights have been canceled, and four states have declared emergencies.
"Everyone from Louisiana over through Florida needs to be watching this very carefully and taking some initial preparations," warns National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb.
Isaac could become a Category 2 hurricane and possibly hit New Orleans Wednesday, on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
"Now is not the time to panic, but it its the time to get ready and prepare," Mayor Mitch Landrieu told residents.
People throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida panhandle are also getting ready.
Hurricane warnings now stretch from east of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.