Gulf Coast braces for 20 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Lee.
:: Tropical Storm Lee Closes In on New Orleans ::
Bands of heavy rain and strong wind gusts knocked out power to thousands in south Louisiana and Mississippi and prompted evacuations in bayou towns like Jean Lafitte, where water lapped at several front doors along the main highway.
The sluggish storm stalled just before making landfall, and threatened to dump more than a foot of rain across the northern Gulf Coast and into the Southeast in coming days. No injuries were reported and there were only scattered reports of water entering low-lying homes and businesses.
The center of the slow-moving storm was about 45 southwest of Morgan City, La., Saturday afternoon, spinning intermittent bands of stormy weather, alternating with light rain and occasional sunshine. Its maximum sustained winds were 60 mph.
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Beachgoers try to save their sailboat after the high wind flipped it over and broke the mast in Dauphin Island, Ala. –AP
URGENT: Tornado warnings issued for New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana as the Gulf Coast braces for 20 inches of rain in some areas from Tropical Storm Lee.
NEW ORLEANS — Tornado warnings have been issued for New Orleans and its surrounding areas as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee began falling in southern Louisiana Saturday.
The storm’s center is trudging slowly toward land, where businesses were already beginning to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend. The storm could bring as many as 20 inches of rain to some areas.
NOTE: I will be adding comments on this post as weather alerts warrant…
Tropical storm warning flags were flying from Mississippi to Texas and flash flood warnings extended along the Alabama coast into the Florida Panhandle. The storm’s slow forward movement means that its rain clouds should have more time to disgorge themselves on any cities in their path.
The storm was expected to make landfall on the central Louisiana coast late Saturday and turn east toward New Orleans, where it would provide the biggest test of rebuilt levees since Hurricane Gustav struck on Labor Day 2008.
Still, residents didn’t expect the tropical storm to live up to the legacy of some of the killer hurricanes that have hit the city.
“It’s a lot of rain. It’s nothing, nothing to Katrina,” said Malcolm James, 59, a federal investigator in New Orleans who lost his home after levees broke during Katrina in August 2005 and had to be airlifted by helicopter.
“This is mild,” he said. “Things could be worse.”
:: Set to Unleash 20 Inches of Rain ::