The story: Isaac still packs a punch



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A street sign lies near floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac on Wednesday, August 29, in Braithwaite, Louisiana. Dozens were reportedly rescued in the area after levees were overtopped by floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac.A street sign lies near floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac on Wednesday, August 29, in Braithwaite, Louisiana. Dozens were reportedly rescued in the area after levees were overtopped by floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac.
A rescue boat passes a partially submerged stop sign.A rescue boat passes a partially submerged stop sign.
A car drives down Canal Street on Wednesday. The storm is slowly moving across southeast Louisiana, dumping large amounts of rain and knocking out power in scattered parts of the state.A car drives down Canal Street on Wednesday. The storm is slowly moving across southeast Louisiana, dumping large amounts of rain and knocking out power in scattered parts of the state.
A traffic light continues to glow after being downed by Isaac's winds.A traffic light continues to glow after being downed by Isaac’s winds.
A fallen tree blocks a road in New Orleans as Isaac batters the city and surrounding region, flooding homes and driving stormy waters over the top of at least one levee.A fallen tree blocks a road in New Orleans as Isaac batters the city and surrounding region, flooding homes and driving stormy waters over the top of at least one levee.
Dozens were reportedly rescued in Plaquemines Parish after levees were overtopped by floodwaters.Dozens were reportedly rescued in Plaquemines Parish after levees were overtopped by floodwaters.
John Stone of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and his dog are led out of the water by a member of the Swift Water Rescue Team after being rescued from his flooded house.John Stone of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and his dog are led out of the water by a member of the Swift Water Rescue Team after being rescued from his flooded house.
A tree was pushed over outside Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. A tree was pushed over outside Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans.
People rest in a rescue truck atop a levee in Plaquemines Parish.People rest in a rescue truck atop a levee in Plaquemines Parish.
Rescue workers survey the floodwaters from a levee in Braithwaite. Rescue workers survey the floodwaters from a levee in Braithwaite.
A downed streetlight lies in the rain in New Orleans' Central Business District. A downed streetlight lies in the rain in New Orleans’ Central Business District.
Police officers stand watch in the French Quarter.Police officers stand watch in the French Quarter.
A traffic light dangles at an intersection in Metairie, Louisiana, during strong wind and rain as Hurricane Isaac pushes ashore.A traffic light dangles at an intersection in Metairie, Louisiana, during strong wind and rain as Hurricane Isaac pushes ashore.
A tree toppled by hurricane-force winds lies on power lines near a home in New Orleans.A tree toppled by hurricane-force winds lies on power lines near a home in New Orleans.
A storm surge causes water to quickly rise while waves pound the concrete seawall along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans on Tuesday, August 28.A storm surge causes water to quickly rise while waves pound the concrete seawall along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans on Tuesday, August 28.
Scott Burley runs from crashing surf on the Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport, Mississippi.Scott Burley runs from crashing surf on the Ken Combs Pier in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Jason Preston closes shutters on a home in Gulfport, Mississippi, as Hurricane Isaac approaches.Jason Preston closes shutters on a home in Gulfport, Mississippi, as Hurricane Isaac approaches.
Emily Schneider leans against a pole to support herself against strong winds while visiting the banks of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, where Hurricane Isaac has made landfall. Emily Schneider leans against a pole to support herself against strong winds while visiting the banks of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, where Hurricane Isaac has made landfall.
Water rises from a bayou, flooding properties ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Isaac in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Water rises from a bayou, flooding properties ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Isaac in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
Bridgette Mooney, her husband Kevin, and their 15-month-old daughter Skyler watch from their home as Hurricane Isaac lashes their property with rain in Kiln, Mississippi. Bridgette Mooney, her husband Kevin, and their 15-month-old daughter Skyler watch from their home as Hurricane Isaac lashes their property with rain in Kiln, Mississippi.
Employees of the Orleans Levee District remove signs from Lake Shore Drive near the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Employees of the Orleans Levee District remove signs from Lake Shore Drive near the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Evan Stoudt faces strong winds from the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.Evan Stoudt faces strong winds from the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.
 A man walks on Canal Street in New Orleans. A man walks on Canal Street in New Orleans.
Joshua Keegan and Ruffin Henry swim at Lake Pontchartrain.Joshua Keegan and Ruffin Henry swim at Lake Pontchartrain.
High surf splashes along Highway 193 north of the Dauphin Island Bridge in Alabama.High surf splashes along Highway 193 north of the Dauphin Island Bridge in Alabama.
Waves from Hurricane Isaac smash against a warning sign at a flooded beach in Biloxi, Mississippi.Waves from Hurricane Isaac smash against a warning sign at a flooded beach in Biloxi, Mississippi.
 A group of men sit on a bench at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Isaac approaches. A group of men sit on a bench at the edge of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Isaac approaches.
Matthew Pettus holds a sheet open in the wind on the levee near Lake Pontchartrain.Matthew Pettus holds a sheet open in the wind on the levee near Lake Pontchartrain.
 People make their way across Canal Street in New Orleans. People make their way across Canal Street in New Orleans.
Joshua Keegan and his dog Scout swim in the rising water of Lake Pontchartrain.Joshua Keegan and his dog Scout swim in the rising water of Lake Pontchartrain.
A Mississippi Department of Transportation sign in Hattiesburg warns southbound motorists on U.S. 49 of rough weather conditions on Tuesday, August 28. Hurricane Isaac is expected to drop heavy rain on the Mississippi Coast over the next couple of days. A Mississippi Department of Transportation sign in Hattiesburg warns southbound motorists on U.S. 49 of rough weather conditions on Tuesday, August 28. Hurricane Isaac is expected to drop heavy rain on the Mississippi Coast over the next couple of days.
A woman and her dog watch the waves produced by Hurricane Isaac on the shore of Lake Pontchatrain in New Orleans on Tuesday. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall later tonight along the Louisiana coast.A woman and her dog watch the waves produced by Hurricane Isaac on the shore of Lake Pontchatrain in New Orleans on Tuesday. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall later tonight along the Louisiana coast.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu receive an update on the status of the pumping station at the 17th Street Canal in Metairie, Louisiana. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu receive an update on the status of the pumping station at the 17th Street Canal in Metairie, Louisiana.
 A couple takes photos in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Many residents of the area decided to stay in their homes instead of evacuating. A couple takes photos in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Many residents of the area decided to stay in their homes instead of evacuating.
A man skateboards past a bar with boarded windows in the French Quarter in New Orleans. A man skateboards past a bar with boarded windows in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Diana Whipple of New Orleans watches waves crash on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Isaac approaches Tuesday. Isaac became a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday when its maximum sustained winds reached 75 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.Diana Whipple of New Orleans watches waves crash on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Isaac approaches Tuesday. Isaac became a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday when its maximum sustained winds reached 75 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.
Workers try to close off state Highway 23 South in Oakville, Louisiana, on Tueday as Issac heads toward the coast.Workers try to close off state Highway 23 South in Oakville, Louisiana, on Tueday as Issac heads toward the coast.
Gallery Nine Forty in New Orleans' French Quarter notifies customers it's "on Hurrication."Gallery Nine Forty in New Orleans’ French Quarter notifies customers it’s “on Hurrication.”
Workers board up a business on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter as Isaac approaches Tuesday.Workers board up a business on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter as Isaac approaches Tuesday.
Hydraulic pumps are prepared at the 17th Street Canal floodwall Tuesday in New Orleans.Hydraulic pumps are prepared at the 17th Street Canal floodwall Tuesday in New Orleans.
A woman enjoys the a heavy rain in the Tampa, Florida, area, on Monday. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall near New Orleans.A woman enjoys the a heavy rain in the Tampa, Florida, area, on Monday. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall near New Orleans.
Mounted law enforcement officials wait out a brief rainstorm during the National Republican Convention. Commercial bus cancellations caused by Isaac prevented many of the expected demonstrators from being present.Mounted law enforcement officials wait out a brief rainstorm during the National Republican Convention. Commercial bus cancellations caused by Isaac prevented many of the expected demonstrators from being present.
A sign in the French Quarter makes fun of Hurricane Isaac.A sign in the French Quarter makes fun of Hurricane Isaac.
Workers place plywood on the windows of the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.Workers place plywood on the windows of the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.
Aimo Ny rests on her cot in the hurricane shelter at the Belle Chasse Auditorium on Monday in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Aimo Ny rests on her cot in the hurricane shelter at the Belle Chasse Auditorium on Monday in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
iReporter Liz Yavinsky snapped this picture of a boy floating down a flooded street in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.iReporter Liz Yavinsky snapped this picture of a boy floating down a flooded street in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday.
The manager of a shoe store in Harvey, Louisiana, places plywood over the windows in preparation of Hurricane Isaac.The manager of a shoe store in Harvey, Louisiana, places plywood over the windows in preparation of Hurricane Isaac.
A crew from Jefferson Parish Drainage Department places large sandbags near a canal and pond in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, on Monday in preparation for Isaac. A crew from Jefferson Parish Drainage Department places large sandbags near a canal and pond in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, on Monday in preparation for Isaac.
A St. Petersburg, Florida, resident walks along the sea wall at Spa Beach, where larger than average waves were being kicked up by Tropical Storm Isaac on Monday.A St. Petersburg, Florida, resident walks along the sea wall at Spa Beach, where larger than average waves were being kicked up by Tropical Storm Isaac on Monday.
Oliver Marti sweeps water from heavy rains generated by Tropical Storm Isaac off the roof of his flower shop on Monday in Tampa, Florida. Oliver Marti sweeps water from heavy rains generated by Tropical Storm Isaac off the roof of his flower shop on Monday in Tampa, Florida.
Waves batter the coast in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday after Tropical Storm Isaac passed the island.Waves batter the coast in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday after Tropical Storm Isaac passed the island.
Larry Hoffmeister, left, and Charles Carter place storm shutters on Carter's vacation home on Dauphin Island, Alabama, as they prepare for Isaac on Sunday.Larry Hoffmeister, left, and Charles Carter place storm shutters on Carter’s vacation home on Dauphin Island, Alabama, as they prepare for Isaac on Sunday.
Justin and Kayla Franklin of Tennessee walk in wind and rain in downtown Key West as Tropical Storm Isaac moves over the island.Justin and Kayla Franklin of Tennessee walk in wind and rain in downtown Key West as Tropical Storm Isaac moves over the island.
Biloxi, Mississippi, resident Stephanie Dale fills out paperwork Sunday to have her dog microchipped at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, which opened its doors to provide an emergency microchip and tag clinic.Biloxi, Mississippi, resident Stephanie Dale fills out paperwork Sunday to have her dog microchipped at the Humane Society of South Mississippi, which opened its doors to provide an emergency microchip and tag clinic.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, resident Charles Bartlett fills several gas containers in preparation for Isaac.Ocean Springs, Mississippi, resident Charles Bartlett fills several gas containers in preparation for Isaac.
Andrew Marino, left, and Colby Collier pull a wagon filled with sandbags back to their homes as Florida residents prepared for Tropical Storm Isaac in St. Pete Beach, Florida, on Sunday.Andrew Marino, left, and Colby Collier pull a wagon filled with sandbags back to their homes as Florida residents prepared for Tropical Storm Isaac in St. Pete Beach, Florida, on Sunday.
Palm trees blow in the wind in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the start of the Republican National Convention was pushed to Tuesday.Palm trees blow in the wind in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the start of the Republican National Convention was pushed to Tuesday.
Earl, right, and Terri Harris place sandbags around their home to prepare for possible flooding.Earl, right, and Terri Harris place sandbags around their home to prepare for possible flooding.
People venture out into the stormy weather as Tropical Storm Isaac passed by Marathon, Florida, on Sunday.

People venture out into the stormy weather as Tropical Storm Isaac passed by Marathon, Florida, on Sunday.

A couple watch as waves and strong winds from Tropical Storm Isaac, which crossed Cuba on Sunday, batter the shore in Gibara, Cuba, on Saturday.A couple watch as waves and strong winds from Tropical Storm Isaac, which crossed Cuba on Sunday, batter the shore in Gibara, Cuba, on Saturday.
Strong winds bend palm trees in Cuba's northern province of Sancti Spiritus on Saturday. Isaac is expected to strengthen and become a Category 1 hurricane by early Monday as it draws nearer to Florida.Strong winds bend palm trees in Cuba’s northern province of Sancti Spiritus on Saturday. Isaac is expected to strengthen and become a Category 1 hurricane by early Monday as it draws nearer to Florida.
A man captures the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac in Gibara.A man captures the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac in Gibara.
People watch from the shore as waves pound the coast in Gibara.People watch from the shore as waves pound the coast in Gibara.
Officials reported some storm surge and flooding in eastern Cuba.Officials reported some storm surge and flooding in eastern Cuba.
Tampa, Florida, area residents make preparations for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac by filling sandbags at a Hillsborough County Public Works Service Center on Saturday.Tampa, Florida, area residents make preparations for the arrival of Tropical Storm Isaac by filling sandbags at a Hillsborough County Public Works Service Center on Saturday.
A woman sits atop sandbags filled by Tampa area residents in preparation for the storm.A woman sits atop sandbags filled by Tampa area residents in preparation for the storm.
A Florida Keys resident boards up the windows of a store on Duval Street in Key West after a hurricane warning was issued ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac.

A Florida Keys resident boards up the windows of a store on Duval Street in Key West after a hurricane warning was issued ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Two men install storm shutters on Duval Street on Saturday.Two men install storm shutters on Duval Street on Saturday.
Vehicles cross a bridge leaving the Lower Keys on Saturday as the storm strengthens and moves closer.Vehicles cross a bridge leaving the Lower Keys on Saturday as the storm strengthens and moves closer.

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Have you been affected by Isaac? Share your photos here.

(CNN) — Louisiana and Mississippi officials conducted search-and-rescue missions Wednesday for residents stranded by Tropical Storm Isaac, which flooded highways and homes and pushed water over the top of a vital levee.

While Isaac lost its hurricane status Wednesday afternoon, officials warned of continued life-threatening hazards from storm surges and local flooding.

The situation was particularly dire in Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, where 3,000 people remained in one area close to an 8-foot tall levee that waters are threatening, according to a release from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office.

Earlier Jindal said a first estimate from local officials in the parish showed as many as 800 homes may have received significant water damage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported significant storm surge in the parish, scene of many rescues.

One involved National Guard troops who moved 112 residents from the Riverbend nursing home to another facility.

Dozens of Louisiana families that had ignored mandatory evacuation orders in a low-lying area retreated to their attics and roofs and sought rescue amid the howling wind and pounding rain.


Storm trackerStorm tracker


Isaac storm surge creeps up to house

Nungesser: Wind prevents Isaac rescues

New Orleans native rides out Isaac

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday that 34 people were rescued by boat in Hancock County, on the coast northeast of New Orleans, and 15 others were picked up by National Guard troops in trucks. CNN affiliate WWL reported major flooding in LaPlace, west of New Orleans.

How to help, as Isaac pounds the Gulf Coast

Isaac threatened to keep churning over the region for another day.

The punishing storm conditions will persist “all day today, into tonight, into tomorrow,” said Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.

The region’s largest power provider, meanwhile, told customers to prepare for “extended power outages.” Overall, power companies said more than 817,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Arkansas. More than three-fourths of the outages were in Louisiana.

Sixty road segments in Louisiana were closed as of Wednesday afternoon, officials said, including the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

“We are trying to keep priority routes open as much as safely possible,” said spokeswoman Amber Leach of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

As of 4 p.m. CT, Isaac’s maximum sustained winds were at 70 mph — below the hurricane threshold of 74 mph.

The storm’s center was about 35 miles south of Baton Rouge and about 60 miles west of New Orleans, the hurricane agency said. Police officers said the city will be under a dusk-to-dawn curfew beginning Wednesday evening.

Isaac was creeping to the northwest at only 6 mph, giving it a long time to inflict damage.

Jindal said there was a report of a fatality in a fire early Wednesday, but officials had not confirmed the report.

Officials were quick to emphasize that the huge federal investments in recent years to avoid a repeat of Hurricane Katrina’s horror had worked in New Orleans.

“The system that the country invested in is absolutely paying off,” said Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

“There is no evidence of any (water) overtopping (canals)” in the city, said the senator’s brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We have full confidence the levees will hold.”

But in Plaquemines Parish, just southeast of the city, three levees overtopped, creating a kind of flooding the parish did not see even during Hurricane Katrina, which hit seven years ago Wednesday.

More than 150 calls came in to 911 from people wanting to be rescued, said Terry Rutherford, commander of authorities in Plaquemines Parish.

By mid-morning, 75 people had been rescued from flooded homes and rooftops in Braithwaite in the parish, WWL reported. At least 25 others were awaiting rescue on the parish’s east bank, the report said, citing parish President Billy Nungesser.

Emergency management officials reported the overtopping of an 18-mile stretch of the back levee from Braithwaite to White Ditch, according to the National Weather Service office in New Orleans.

The levee is maintained by the parish and has not been part of the federal hurricane protection levee system, according to officials.

Hurricane safety: When the lights go out

Katrina breached the levee in two places, the Army Corps of Engineers said.

“It’s very unfortunate that people did not heed the warnings,” Mary Landrieu told CNN, adding, “our hearts go out” to them.

“Now the Coast Guard’s got to go out with winds still gusting 60 to 70 mph in some areas” to save them, she said.

The New Orleans levee system and pump stations were working furiously to deal with the deluge.

The system was rebuilt and reinforced at a cost of $14 billion after it failed when Katrina struck in 2005. Nearly 1,800 people died as a result of that storm, the majority when levees and flood walls failed and flooded.

Landrieu said she was among some officials who had pushed for Plaquemines Parish to be included in the federally funded projects, but the corps follows a formula “based on economic impact” that leaves out some rural or sparsely populated areas.

However, Jindal said federal dollars were appropriated for that levee since Katrina, but so far have not been used for construction, although there had been some kind of construction done on the levee.

Officials were considering intentionally breaching the levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Jindal said.

Isaac “delivered more of a punch than originally thought,” said Nungesser, the parish president.

“We have reports of people on their roofs, in attics, in 12 to 14 feet of water,” he said Wednesday.

Those homes were on the east bank of a levee, but “this storm is going to kick around and deliver the same type of flow to the west bank,” he said.

Nungesser said his parish will need federal funds to rebuild. But first the searches continued.

“We are still looking for stranded residents,” he said Wednesday evening. “We will resume a double check tomorrow on the homes on the east bank (of the Mississippi River). We’re checking the west bank for anyone who may have been trapped.”

Parish resident Gene Oddo told WWL that he was in his attic with his wife and 18-month-old baby girl.

Honoré: ‘Hunker down and stay off roads’

Hurricane trackers take on Isaac

Hurricane Isaac causing heavy rainfall

Hurricane Isaac’s wall of water

“The water came up so quick, it looks like we lost everything,” he said. He and his wife have drinking water, baby food and other necessities, he said.

“I would rather be here to save what I can, because insurance doesn’t cover all that much,” Oddo said.

Oddo said the water was above his front door, and he did not expect it to reach the attic. But if it does, “I’m gonna have to shoot a hole in the attic to get up here on the roof.”

His neighbors, including a 92-year-old man who refused to leave his home, were in a similar predicament, he said.

“People who went through Katrina are pretty nervous about storms, and large numbers of people have left,” Lynn Magnuson, 58, said Tuesday in a CNN iReport.

Magnuson said the Lower 9th Ward, which was hard hit by Katrina, “is pretty empty right now.”

About 1,000 National Guard troops and more than 2,900 law enforcement officers are in the city ready to address issues related to the storm, Mayor Landrieu said.

Isaac made its second landfall at about 2 a.m. CT near Port Fourchon, in southeast Louisiana 60 miles southeast of New Orleans, after slamming first into Plaquemines Parish along the coast and then wobbling back over the water near the mouth of the Mississippi River, the National Hurricane Center said in an early morning update.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, 50-year-old Alfonso Walker was keeping a close eye on the progress of the 195-mile-wide storm.

He watched as a storm surge sent waves crashing over the pier at the IP Biloxi Hotel & Casino.

“I went through Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where I lost everything, and every other hurricane in between those two that came through,” he said in a CNN iReport.

“So I’m a little concerned.”

Isaac could bring 14 inches of rain across the region, and as much as 20 inches in some areas, including parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the hurricane center had predicted.

The center of the storm “will move farther inland over Louisiana tonight and tomorrow, and move over southern Arkansas by early Friday,” the hurricane center said.

Isaac, which was a tropical storm last week in the Atlantic Ocean, killed nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before starting its journey across the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.

Links, tips and resources for battling the storm

CNN’s Brian Todd, Soledad O’Brien, Ed Lavandera, Martin Savidge, John Zarrella, Steve Almasy, Joe Sterling, Anika Chin, Greg Botelho, Mike Ahlers, Aaron Cooper and Ed Payne contributed to this report.






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