NEW ORLEANS – Hurricane Isaac knocked out power, flooded Gulf-front roads and pushed water over the top of an 18-mile section of a rural Louisiana levee before dawn Wednesday as it began a slow, wet slog across the state with a newly fortified New Orleans in its path.
Wind gusts and sheets of rain pelted the nearly empty streets of New Orleans, where people watched the incoming Isaac from behind levees that were strengthened after the much stronger Hurricane Katrina hit seven years ago to the day.
Water pushed by the large and powerful storm flooded over an 18-mile stretch of one levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, flooding some homes in a thinly populated area. No injuries were reported.
Parish President Billy Nungesser said a portion of the roof of his home had blown off. He described wind-driven rain coming into his home as “like standing in a light socket with a fire hose turned on.”
Isaac was packing 80 mph winds, making it a Category 1 hurricane. It came ashore at 7:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday near the mouth of the Mississippi River, driving a wall of water nearly 11 feet high inland and soaking a neck of land that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico. Its next major target was New Orleans, 70 miles to the northwest, where forecasters said the city’s skyscrapers could feel gusts up to 100 mph.
Isaac’s winds and sheets of rain were whipping through nearly empty streets in New Orleans while in neighboring Mississippi the storm pushed Gulf water over sections of the main beachfront highway that runs the length of the state’s shore.
Ryan Bernie, a spokesman for the city of New Orleans, said the storm had caused only some minor street flooding before dawn and felled trees but had left roughly 125,000 customers in the city without power.
In Mississippi, the main beachfront highway, U.S. 90, was closed in sections by storm surge flooding. At one spot in Biloxi, a foot of water covered the in-town highway for a couple of blocks and it looked like more was coming in. High tide around 9:30 a.m. was likely to bring up more water.
In largely abandoned Plaquemines Parish, storm surge was piling up against levees between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River along the boot of Louisiana. A levee on the parish’s evacuated east bank had been overtopped.
Plaquemines emergency management spokesman Caitlin Campbell said an 18-mile stretch along the thinly populated east bank was being overtopped by surge. Sheriff’s deputies were going house-to-house getting residents who’d remained after an earlier evacuation to move to higher ground. Campbell said no injuries were reported and streets were passable.
Read more: newsnet5.com
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