New Orleans levees withstand Lee; other areas not so fortunate
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New Orleans’ pumps and levee systems continued to hold their own against the onslaught of slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee on Sunday, but other Gulf Coast communities experienced catastrophic flooding, and parts of the Eastern Seaboard still reeling in the wake of Hurricane Irene braced for wet days to come as Lee moves north.
Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans’ mayor, said the city was in good shape Sunday afternoon, but warned that the storm, which would linger in the city through Monday afternoon, still packed the possibility of trouble.
‘For the most part, streets in Orleans Parish are clear at this time,’ Landrieu said at a news conference. ‘But that could change with a large amount of rain in a short period of time.’
Surrounding area were not faring as well, however. Landrieu said the surrounding parishes of Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany were ‘experiencing a number of different fights that come from a number of different threats.’
Some of the most dramatic trouble came in southern Jefferson Parish, where about half of a cluster of fishing and oil and gas communities -- Jean Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria -- were underwater, with six to seven feet of water in some areas, said Timothy Kerner, mayor of the town of Jean Lafitte.
Kerner had spent the day fighting to keep the water from getting to the dry half.
‘Oh my God, man,’ he said in a phone interview. ‘We’re actually building little rock levees, sand bagging -- so many doggone things we’re trying to do.’
The communities lie just outside of metro New Orleans’ flood-control system, which received a multi-billion-dollar upgrade failing during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
AccuWeather meteorologists predict Lee will degrade to a low-pressure system around Tuesday, when it is expected to deliver heavy rain to Washington D.C.; Lynchburg, Va., and Winston-Salem, N.C.
Flash flooding is a particular concern for parts of the Appalachian region.
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Leslie Westbrook / The Daily Advertiser