Isaac takes his time along La. coast; slowly weakening

ACADIA PARISH - Well let’s try this again. Hurricane Isaac seems to taking it’s time moving inland in Louisiana and slowly teased the Gulf Coast as it slowly moved in a west northwest fashion. In fact, in Acadia Parish there didn’t seem to be any rain whatsoever and the winds that were supposed to be gusting up to 60 miles per hour had yet to arrive.

“Major Keith Latiola reported a little bit of rain in the Iota area but aside from that there wasn’t much at all,” said a tired looking Acadia Parish Director of Homeland Security Lee Hebert Thursday morning. “We did have some branches that fell that the road crew had to go out and pick up... it’s time this thing moved inland and began to move north.”

Hebert said that as of 8 a.m. Wednesday the storm was being predicted to move northward in the area between Lafayette and Baton Rouge. But as Isaac has proven to be such an unpredictable storm, he said to remain cautious.”

The Branch area has experienced multiple power outages. Reports from Jennings said they experienced some as well, however, the outages were caused by wind gusts as opposed to any type of precipitation.

Hurricane Isaac did hit the New Orleans area with punishing winds and relentless rain, causing flooding that overtopped a levee south of New Orleans early Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Plaquemines Parish spokesman Caitlin Campbell said water was running over an 18-mile stretch of the levee early Wednesday and that some homes had been flooded. The levee, one of many across the low-lying coastal zone, is not part of New Orleans’ defenses. Officials said Coast Guard personnel were attempting to rescue to men stranded atop one levee and others trapped in homes.

A Category 1 hurricane with winds at 80 mph, Isaac skirted the southern coast of southeastern Louisiana, drenching a sparsely populated neck of land that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico. The most devastating impacts across the three states bordering the Gulf were still to come. The slow-moving storm chugged along on a track that would take it just west of New Orleans, about 70 miles to the north.

“It has not let up one time throughout this whole event,” said Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish president said. “This is not a Category 1 storm.”

Carl Parker, hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel, said the storm’s force will be felt for many hours.

“Right now, we’re looking at an 80 mph hurricane, and it is not going to weaken very quickly,” he said. At New Orleans Lakefront Airport, winds have been gusting 60 mph or higher for 13 straight hours.

By early Wednesday morning, Isaac had dumped up to nine inches of rain across the region while driving 60 to 70 mph winds across cities and towns. Storm surge has been measured up to 10 feet around New Orleans and up to six feet along the Mississippi coast.

“We’ve got waves of rain pushing out into the streets,” said meteorologist Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, reporting from Canal Street in New Orleans, where he measured wind gusts at 84 mph.

Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, said the levees and pumps -- bolstered by $14 billion in federal repairs and improvements after the catastrophic failures during Katrina -- are holding and working as expected.

“We don’t expect any breaches. We don’t see any danger whatsoever,” Landrieu said.

Mandatory evacuation orders lifted for Mobile and Baldwin counties; tropical storm warnings remain in effect for both counties.

More than 450,000 customers were without power in Louisiana early Wednesday.

Storm surge of 11 feet reported in Shell Beach.

Hurricane force wind gust of 76 mph reported early Wednesday at New Orleans Lakefront Airport.

All Wednesday flights were canceled at New Orleans International Airport.

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