Hurricane Isaac is testing New Orleans flood control

National Aeronautics and Space Administration/
Goddard MODIS Rapid Response photo
This is a photo of Hurricane Isaac taken Tuesday about 10:30
p.m. Costa Rican time. It shows the storm about 100 miles
south of the Mississippi River mouth.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Isaac came ashore late Tuesday, bringing sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour. Forecasters also warned of dangerous storm surges along the northern U.S. Gulf Coast.

A storm surge of 11 feet was reported at a National Ocean Service tide gauge at Shell Beach, Louisiana, said the Hurricane Center, adding that a storm surge of 6.9 feet was observed at a National Ocean Service tide gauge in Waveland, Mississippi.

Earlier Tuesday, President Barack Obama urged residents to get out of the way, if they can.

“We are dealing with a big storm and there could be significant flooding and other damage across a large area. Now is not the time to tempt fate. Now is not the time to dismiss official warnings,” said Obama.

Earlier, forecasters reported flooding along low-lying areas along the coast.

New Orleans Louisiana Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been preparing his city for a possible direct hit.

”We have dodged a bullet in the sense that this is not a category three storm but a category one; at this strength from 85 to 100 mph winds with 125 mph gusts is plenty big enough to put a big hurt on you if you fall into complacency,” said Landrieu.

The president has declared states of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi. That declaration opens the door for federal funding, almost seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the region, causing massive damage.

New Orleans officials are telling residents to be prepared to live without regular water or power supplies for several days. But not everyone is ready to leave.

Jennifer Landix in the city’s Lower 9th Ward is one of those staying put.

“We’ll probably get some street flooding from the rain, but you know, heavy winds and stuff, the lights may go out, but we’re prepared for all of that. I’m not really in the mood for leaving, let’s just put it that way,” said Ms. Landix.

Experts say the storm could test New Orleans’ upgraded flood control and levee systems, which were put in place after Hurricane Katrina left 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Isaac battered eastern Cuba Saturday, after killing at least 19 people in Haiti, which is still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake. Two people were killed in the Dominican Republic. There were no reports of fatalities in Cuba.

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