Louisiana prepares for 20 inches of rain as Lee storms in
Sunday 04 September 2011
Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee were falling in southern Louisiana and pelting the US Gulf Coast yesterday as the storm's centre trudged slowly towards land, where businesses were already beginning to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend. With floods from the storms of last weekend's Hurricane Irene still evident in New England, Lee could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect 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 outer bands of Lee, the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, began dumping rain over south-eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and Alabama on Friday. The storm was expected to make landfall on the central Louisiana coast late on Saturday, local time, and turn east towards New Orleans, where it would provide the biggest test of rebuilt levees since Hurricane Gustav struck on Labor Day 2008.
The National Hurricane Center said the centre of Lee was expected to cross the Louisiana coast by Saturday night and pass into the southern portion of the state on Sunday. Forecasters said that its maximum sustained winds had increased slightly by early Saturday morning to 50mph, and could get stronger.
Lee's biggest impact so far has been in the Gulf of Mexico oil fields. About half the Gulf's normal daily oil production has been cut as rigs were evacuated. Oil prices had already fallen sharply on Friday on sour economic news. Federal authorities said 169 of the 617 staffed production platforms had been evacuated, along with 16 of the 62 drilling rigs.
Lee comes less than a week after Hurricane Irene brought destruction to the Caribbean and the US eastern seaboard, killing more than 50 people. It was too soon to tell if Hurricane Katia, out in the Atlantic, could endanger the US. It was expected to pass north of the Caribbean Leeward Islands.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...