Approaching New Orleans, Hurricane Isaac Overtops Plaquemines Parish Levee
Moving slowly, Hurricane Isaac continues to pound and soak the Gulf Coast as it approaches New Orleans:
Isaac was packing 80 mph winds, making it a Category 1 hurricane. It came ashore at 7:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday near the mouth of the Mississippi River, driving a wall of water nearly 11 feet high inland and soaking a neck of land that stretches into the Gulf.
The storm stalled for several hours before resuming a slow trek inland, and forecasters said that was in keeping with the its erratic history. The slow motion over land means Isaac could be a major soaker, dumping up to 20 inches of rain in some areas, and every storm is different, said Ken Graham, chief meteorologist at the National, Weather Service office in Slidell, La.
There are widespread reports of people trapped in homes and cars by the water, especially in Plaquemines Parish, where levees have been overtopped. Levees and pump stations in New Orleans continue to function, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Its center "will move over Louisiana today and tomorrow, and over southern Arkansas early Friday," the hurricane center said.
"Weakening is forecast as Isaac moves over land during the next 48 hours."
Forecast weakening, though, doesn't mean the danger is over, especially given the volume of water that's been dumped on the area.