Emergency Officials in Texas Prep for Isaac

North Texas FEMA teams are on the ground in Baton Rouge, La.

The American Red Cross has opened a command center in Dallas and is getting volunteers ready in case shelters open in East Texas. The shelters will house people moved out of the path of Hurricane Isaac.

Hurricane Isaac is expected to hit over southeastern Louisiana, possibly the New Orleans area, sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday and is gaining steam with sustained winds swirling at 75 mph.

Landfall would come during the seventh anniversary Hurricane Katrina that devastated the area.

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As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted Isaac would maintain at least Category 1 strength. Winds would be at least 75 mph and can be as high as 95 mph.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross were ready Tuesday at a shelter at Faith Baptist Church in DeSoto.

"We are preparing for as many as 10,000 people but we know we may get no one, we may get a hundred people, or we could get the 10,000, it could be greater than that," said Anita Foster with the Red Cross.

Federal emergency officials in Texas have begun staging supplies in Louisiana in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.

More than 100 people at Federal Emergency Management Agency's regional headquarters in Denton are watching Tropical Storm Isaac's progress and helping to coordinate the federal response with state and local officials.

Tony Robinson, FEMA Region 6 acting administrator, said the agency learned some hard lessons after Hurricane Katrina, when the federal response fell far short.

“There’s greater collaboration and coordination, a lot more detailed planning," he said.

In addition to FEMA personnel, the group in Denton includes representatives from the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

FEMA teams from North Texas are already on the ground at the State Emergency Operations Center north of Baton Rouge, La.

They’re receiving truckloads of supplies from FEMA’s 320,000-square-foot warehouse in Fort Worth. Emergency response items such as meals, water, cots, blankets and hygiene kits have been placed at various points in Louisiana.

"Tonight’s a very critical night because we have the onset of tropical-storm-force winds along the coast, and those will be moving into the metro New Orleans area over tomorrow, so that the movement of our assets has to continue through to night to get them in place and be ready for when the storm hits," Robinson said.

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday activated a disaster district committee in Beaumont to help people who might be evacuating from Louisiana.

The Texas emergency operations center in Austin continues to monitor the progress of Isaac.

Tropical Storm Issac is also affecting travel in North Texas and around the country.

The storm forced the cancellation of all flights in or out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Tuesday.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines also planned to cancel all of its flights to New Orleans on Wednesday.

The weather is also affecting flights into parts of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

The good news is many carriers are waiving the fee to change flights headed to the Gulf Coast.

NBC 5's Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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