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Despite Downgrade to Tropical Storm, Isaac Brings Widespread Flooding

Rescue workers transport residents trapped by rising water in LaPlace, La., on Wednesday. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

Updated Aug. 30 at 10:10 a.m. ET: Tropical storm Isaac lost more steam as it lingered over land Thursday but was still expected to cause widespread flooding and rain as it moves over the center of the country in the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm knocked out power for more than 730,000 residents of Louisiana and Mississippi, according to Reuters, and some residents had to be rescued from submerged homes.

Swift Water Rescue Team in Mississippi Jessie Fineran, of the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center, left, talks to members of the Swift Water Rescue Team about how to rescue employees of WQRZ radio station in Shoreline Park area of Bay St. Louis, Miss., during Hurricane Isaac on Wednesday. Photo by John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT via Getty Images.

Updated Aug. 29 at 6:27 p.m. ET: While officials report that the multibillion dollar levees built in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina around New Orleans have mostly held, the danger of Isaac has not yet passed. Downgraded back to a tropical storm Wednesday, the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center warned Isaac was still “producing life-threatening hazards from storm surge and inland flooding as it moves slowly across southeastern Louisiana.”

Across Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama hundreds of thousands were without power and some were in need of rescue due to rising flood waters. CNN reports damages could top $1.5 billion. One death has been blamed on the storm so far. The LA Times has a slide show of the damage, rescues and heroism in Isaac’s wake.

While widely reported to be nowhere near as powerful as Hurricane Katrina, NPR reports the president of Plaquemines Parish — the area where Isaac made landfall in Louisiana — deemed Isaac to be equally, if not more so, damaging than the hurricane of seven years ago.

“I don’t know who’s calling this a category 1, but this is no category 1,” Billy Nungesser told NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition. “My house has more damage than it did during Katrina.”

Updated Aug. 29 at 9:30 a.m. ET: Hurricane Isaac, still deemed a Category 1, moved steadily toward New Orleans Wednesday morning, whipping the city with rain and 80 mph winds, on its path from the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll have more about the storm on the NewsHour broadcast. View the latest on Isaac on The Weather Channel’s website.

Google has developed this crisis map on the storm as it moves into Louisiana:

And this Twitter feed has the latest updates from news outlets and residents on Hurricane Isaac:

NOLA.com is posting user photos of the storm as it hits land on its website. You can view the latest pictures in their photo gallery.

Original Story:

Hurricane Isaac grew stronger throughout Tuesday afternoon and early evening, bringing heavy rains, winds and storm surges. The developments prompted calls from state and federal officials for safety.

“Now is not the time to tempt fate,” President Obama said at a campaign rally at Iowa State University as Isaac made its way toward land. “Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings. You need to take this seriously.”

On the eve of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and with sustained winds of 80 mph, the center of Isaac was 105 miles south-southeast of New Orleans and was on a relatively slow path towards the city — about eight mph — according to the latest advisory by the National Hurricane Center.

WNYC has a tracking map of Hurricane Isaac based on forecasts by the National Hurricane Center:

Isaac, which was upgraded to a Category-1 hurricane from a tropical storm shortly after noon Tuesday, had delayed the Republican National Convention by a day, forcing organizers to shuffle planned events.

The Washington Post reports that “Obama has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts with state and local officials along the Gulf Coast.”

In preparation of Hurricane Isaac, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the Mississippi river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf to all traffic, and the Times-Picayune reported that La. Governor Bobby Jindal said 4,158 soldiers and air force members have been activated for the hurricane.

With Alabama one of the states expected to sustain damage, governor Robert Bentley tweeted an appeal for constituents to turn to texts in order to keep phone lines free:

NBC Miami has live-streaming video from around New Orleans as Hurricane Isaac approaches:

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

The PBS NewsHour has more coverage of Hurricane Isaac on Tuesday’s broadcast. This post will be updated periodically.

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