NEW ORLEANS (AP):
Isaac dumped unrelenting rain and flooded areas around New Orleans yesterday as people who thought they could ride out a lowest-category hurricane faced quickly rising waters. Hundreds of homes were swamped, about 500 people had to be rescued and half of Louisiana was without power. At least two people were killed.
New Orleans itself was protected by newly fortified flood defences put in place after the devastating Hurricane Katrina seven years ago.
BETTER DAYS AHEAD
"Hopefully, as far as the city of New Orleans is concerned, the worst is behind us," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
But the damage may not be done. Officials were releasing water from an Isaac-stressed dam at a lake near the Louisiana-Mississippi border, hoping to ease the pressure. They had also started work on a levee breach in hard-hit Plaquemines Parish.
Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, said although Isaac's cone shifted west as it zigzagged towards the Gulf Coast, forecasters accurately predicted its path, intensity and rainfall. He did say the storm crept ashore somewhat slower than anticipated.
Blake also said local officials and residents shouldn't use Katrina as a guide for what areas were at the greatest risk of flooding during Isaac.