Hurricane Isaac slams Louisiana and Mississippi
Hurricane Isaac's center has come ashore in southern Louisiana, about 75 miles southeast of New Orleans.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hurricane Isaac is lashing New Orleans as it approaches and pushing flood waters over a rural levee south of the city, where authorities believe some people may be trapped.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's center early Wednesday was about 50 miles south-southwest of New Orleans and moving slowly.
Authorities say a storm surge driven by Isaac pushed water over the top of an 18-mile stretch of levee in a thinly populated part of Plaquemines Parish.
The levee is one of many in the low-lying coastal zone. It is not part of New Orleans' defenses.
Plaquemines officials believe some people may be trapped in their homes by the flood but they are not sure how many might still be in the area. Strong wind was hampering rescue efforts.
Isaac inundated low-lying areas along Mississippi's Gulf Coast on Wednesday as hurricane-driven water rose several feet in some spots while thousands waited out the storm in shelters.
Officials in Hancock and Harrison counties extended curfews until 9 a.m. to keep off roads until after the high tide passes at around 8 a.m.
Harrison County emergency management director Rupert Lacy said the storm surge coupled with the high tide could lead to more extensive flooding.
Lacy said coastal rivers also were beginning to rise from the rainfall.
More than 15,000 people remained without power in coastal areas.