Hurricane Isaac Hits US Coast, Louisiana

Posted August 29th, 2012 at 2:05 am (UTC-5)
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Hurricane Isaac is battering the northern U.S. Gulf Coast with strong winds driving sheets of rain and dangerous storm surges as it slowly moves ashore.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm made landfall late Tuesday in southeastern Louisiana with sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour. Forecasters expect Isaac to slowly weaken later Wednesday as the center of the storm moves inland.

Total rainfall could reach 50 centimeters in some areas, while some parts of Louisiana could see storm surges as high as four meters.

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged residents to get out of the storm's way, saying, “now is not the time to tempt fate” and dismiss official warnings.

The president declared states of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi, making both states eligible for federal funding and other aid.

Hurricane Isaac comes seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina slammed the region, killing 1,800 people and causing massive damage.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Tuesday that his city “dodged a bullet” since Isaac is only a Category One storm. But he said the storm is strong enough to cause damage and bodily harm.

Isaac battered eastern Cuba Saturday, after killing at least 19 people in Haiti, which is still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake. Two people were killed in the Dominican Republic. There were no reports of fatalities in Cuba.