Hurricane Isaac floods the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Isaac hit shore for a second time Tuesday evening and had already resulted in Mississippi floods, boat looting and left thousands without power this morning.

The Category 1 hurricane was “lashing southeastern Louisiana with strong squalls” with “dangerous storm surge and flood threat from heavy rains likely to continue through today and tonight,” the National Hurricane Center reported.

The storm, which hit shore for a second time Tuesday night at 7:45 near the mouth of the Mississippi, had sustained winds of 80 mph and higher gusts at 9 a.m. EDT today as it “continued to wobble” through Louisiana, the hurricane center said.

Forecasters predicted that a weakening Isaac will continue on a northwestern path through Louisiana, reaching southern Arkansas by early Friday.

Storm-driven water flooded an 18-mile stretch after spilling over an 8- or 9-foot high levee in Plaquemines Parish about 60 miles south of New Orleans, according to a CBS report. The spill will result “in deep flooding,” according to the National Weather Service.

That levee, one of many across the low-lying coastal zone, is not part of New Orleans’ defenses.

Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, told CNN that despite a mandatory evacuation several residents had remained.

“The roads are completely unpassable [and] there were a couple of people stuck on the roads. … We have got a serious situation over there,” Nungesser told CNN.

The slow motion over land means Isaac could dump as much as 20 inches of rain in some areas, Ken Graham, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Slidell, La., told the Associated Press.

In addition to the flooding, several boats were looted in St. Tammany (La.) Parish Tuesday after owners moved them to safety on Monday, the St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

“We will absolutely not tolerate anyone preying on others during this time of disaster,” Sheriff Jack Strain said in a statement. “If someone loots a business or home in St. Tammany Parish, the full force of this sheriff’s office will be dedicated to finding them, putting them in jail and making sure they are charged to the full extent of the law.”

Looting during a declared state of emergency carries a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 and three to 15 years at hard labor without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power across Louisiana’s southern parishes, including more than 250,000 in New Orleans and its suburbs, power provider Entergy reported, according to the AP.

Brent crude oil slipped to $112 a barrel today as Hurricane Isaac, which hit land in Louisiana, left Gulf Coast oil production facilities without significant damage, according to a Reuters report.

Click here for the National Hurricane Center update and click here for the full report.

— Reagan Haynes

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