[UPDATE BELOW] Isaac is on the verge of becoming a Category 1 hurricane as it rumbles toward the Gulf coast. It's hard to say exactly when Isaac will make landfall, but Republicans are worried it will upstage NJ Governor Chris Christie, who is the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention tonight. Advisers say he's watching the storm closely. "He’s not going to rattle cages as much if people are sitting on the top of roofs,” one senior adviser tells the Daily News “We will not be tone-deaf (about the storm). If there's a major disaster, there will be a different tone and level of energy."

But locals in Louisiana aren't exactly panicking over a little ol' Category 1 hurricane. "I'm not all that concerned about the storm. It's still a Category 1," Charles Neeley, a New Orleans contractor tells Reuters. "We usually ride out ones and twos and get the hell out for threes and fours."We’re just going to grin and bear it for a little bit. You know, barbecue and make the best out of it." And Anjanette Joseph, a nurse in Destrehan, explains, "All the hotels were booked up for pets, and we have a dog and a mouse, so we decided to stay."

At 5 a.m. this morning, Tropical Storm Isaac was 125 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, rumbling slowly north at 12 mph with sustained winds of 70 mph. It's possible Isaac could be upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane if, in the words of one meteorologist, it "gets its act together." Winds could gust up to 100 mph (Hurricane Katrina had winds of 157 mph when it made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane), and wave surges as high as 12 feet are anticipated.

The storm will be the first big test of the Army Corps of Engineers $14.5 billion flood protection system, which is all but complete. "A slow-moving, large system poses a lot of problems," Rick Knapp, the director of the National Hurricane Center, told reporters yesterday. Isaac could dump 20 inches of water or more in some areas, especially if it strikes at high tide. You can track its progress with this great Times interactive map.

In the 9th Ward of New Orleans, a Fox News reporter interviewed Christine Wiltz, 21, who "wandered down a street in a daze" with two of her boys, ages 6 and 4. "I just have $10 to my name," Wiltz said. "I'm just confused. I was young when Katrina came, so this is my first time dealing with this." Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked about rumors that the convention would be canceled if Isaac proves too devastating. "Got a great convention ahead,” Romney replied, and pointed to his wife, Ann. "She’s terrific." Aaaand cue uncomfortable chuckling.

Update 1:18 p.m.: Now it's officially a Category 1 hurricane, y'all! Sustained winds are now gusting at 75 mph and newscasters all along the Gulf coast are applying extra glue to their toupees.