Hurricane Isaac Hits US Coast, Louisiana

Posted August 29th, 2012 at 6:10 am (UTC-5)
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Hurricane Isaac is dumping heavy rains and battering the northern U.S. Gulf Coast with strong winds as it slowly crawls ashore and heads towards the city of New Orleans.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm will remain over the state of Louisiana through Thursday.

Forecasters say Isaac still has winds of nearly 130 kilometers per hour and areas along the coast are facing dangerous storm surges and flooding rains.

Emergency officials in Plaquemines Parish, southeast of the city of New Orleans, are reporting “significant flooding” as the storm pushes water in from the Gulf of Mexico and overtop the area's levees.

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

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

U.S. President Barack Obama declared states of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi, making both states eligible for federal funding and other aid.

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.

Forecasters expect Isaac to slowly weaken later Wednesday.

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.