Thousands Rescued as Isaac’s Waters Rise

Hurricane Isaac pounding Louisiana’s coast on Wednesday.

Hurricane Isaac dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of the Gulf Coast Wednesday, leaving some residents stranded and hundreds of thousands of homes without power. A storm surge overtopped a levee in Plaquemines Parish, a rural area southwest of New Orleans with about 25,000 residents, which bore the brunt of Isaac’s fury. The surge filled up a neighborhood with as much as 12 feet of water. More than 100 people had to be rescued, some of whom had been stranded in their attics or on their roofs. Late Wednesday, authorities were working to evacuate as many as 3,000 residents in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish after flooding triggered by a storm surge in Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas. Roughly 1,500 residents had been evacuated as of Wednesday night from the parish west of New Orleans. However, the strongest part of the storm largely bypassed New Orleans, which was devastated precisely seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina. “Isaac continues to produce heavy rains and severe weather as it moves farther inland over Louisiana,” the National Hurricane Center said early Thursday. Officials said a federally funded system of levees, pumps and floodgates around New Orleans that were built up after Katrina defended the city well against Isaac, which was downgraded to a tropical storm from a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday afternoon. Despite the threat of flooding in the city from the rain, the federal levees weren’t “at risk of failure,”  according to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.. Isaac had dropped about 19 inches of rain on parts of New Orleans by Wednesday night, possibly putting it on course to set a rainfall record, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 25 inches of rain was expected along the Gulf Coast.
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