Louisiana braces itself for another run of disastrous weather as Tropical Storm Lee hits ground, with many homes south of New Orleans fighting flooding at their doors.
New Orleans, LA – Even though the devastation of Hurricane Katrina remains in the minds of many residents in the “Land of Dixie,” the anticipation of the slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee in dropping 20-inches of heavy rain in the southeastern area of Louisiana is nothing new. The bayou city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas have weathered destructive weather, primitive conditions and hard living for years…with the tough Creole population facing one harsh disaster after another.
On Friday, emergency declarations by Louisiana local and state officials, combined with warnings by meteorologists for tidal surges, had warned its residents about hard winds and heavy rains that would soon be approaching New Orleans. “This storm is moving painfully slow," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at a briefing Saturday afternoon, reported MSNBC, "Don't go to sleep on this storm," he added. "The message today is that we are not out of the woods."
True to form, ABC reported that on Sunday the storm hit land in Louisiana, bringing spin off tornadoes that are affecting Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida…in addition to dangerously high winds and flash flooding.
The mayors of Lafitte and Grand Isle, south of New Orleans, are requesting assistance from residents for voluntary evacuation while emergency teams are stacking sandbags along the waterways. Meanwhile, Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans mayor, has advised the city’s residents to be on alert. In the bayou town of Jean Lafitte, water has already approached the front doors of homes.
At this time, Lee has knocked out power to thousands of people in Mississippi and Louisiana, including the lower areas of New Orleans. Fox4News reports that over the past 24 hours, the New Orleans Levee District has closed over a dozen floodgates to protect the city from the incoming tidal surges, in addition to protecting the surrounding parishes. The big question is whether the levees will hold or not.
The storm center is hitting Louisiana, with the chance of rain in Texas now reduced, according to NWS meteorologist Dennis Cavanaugh. In fact, there is now the possibility that the hot, dry winds from the west side of the storm could spur fire danger across the Lone Star State.