An overnight mission with the Cameron OEP - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

An overnight mission with the Cameron OEP

CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

As Tropical Storm Isaac intensified to a Category 1 Hurricane on Tuesday, the Cameron OEP became a 24-hour campground to director Eddie Benoit, the United States Army and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

With candy and coffee to get through the night, Benoit talked about the importance of Isaac making its initial landfall around 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

"I'm thinking it made landfall it's going to start moving to the north, northwest," said Eddie Benoit, Director of the Cameron OEP.  "We're going to get some winds, some rains, but we're not going to get the storm surges ... So, I was feeling pretty good when it made that first landfall." 

But the storm that's been so unpredictable for weeks, lived up to its character by not tracking north, but bouncing back into the Gulf of Mexico, starting to move to the west at just eight miles per hour. It's when the 2am advisory is issued, showing Isaac nearly stalling in the gulf, that Benoit starts to get uneasy.

"It has not made any northern move in the last three or four hours," said a sleep deprived Benoit in the early hours of the morning. "It's been west and my biggest concern is if it continues to move west, our window of opportunity to evacuate our residents window gets shorter."

A break for Benoit comes when the 3 a.m. advisory is released, showing Isaac making a second landfall and beginning to move, albeit very slowly, north.

"In the last six hours it's made two tracks to the north, which when it does turn to the northwest, would put it even further away from us," said Benoit early Wednesday.

It's not an 'all clear' for Cameron or any other parish in SWLA. Forecasters predict heavy winds and rainfall from Isaac's outer bands and that's what prompted Benoit to issue his original advisory to residents to move to sturdy structures. 

"The eastern part of the parish can expect winds today, tonight with gusts to 45 miles an hour and on the west side of the parish ... they can expect to see wind gusts in the 25-35 miles an hour," Benoit said.  

With Isaac creeping away slowly, soon to be a memory to the coast, Benoit said his job is far from over.

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