Tropical Storm Lee stalls at the coast
Lumbering Tropical Storm Lee drenches Gulf states with rain (CNN)
New Orleans (CNN) -- Slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee churned toward the Gulf Coast Saturday, dumping heavy rains over the southern parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
At one point, approximately 38,000 customers in Louisiana had lost power because of the storm, but that figure was cut to less than 12,000, Entergy reported.
Lee, which is lumbering north-northwest at 4 miles per hour, is expected to cross the Louisiana coast Saturday evening and then move slowly across the southern part of the state on Sunday.
"We have severe weather warnings and tornado warnings in effect for parts of the state and residents everywhere need to use extreme caution," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "Tropical Storm Lee is moving slowly, as expected, and we are already seeing flooded roads and other effects from rising water levels throughout South Louisiana."
Parts of southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama could see 10 to 15 inches of rain through Sunday night, with isolated totals of up to 20 inches, forecasters said.
The very heavy rains are expected to cause flooding in low lying areas abd spread into Alabama and Georgia over the next 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Lee hits Louisiana, Mississippi with heavy rain, gusty winds (WJLA)
JEAN LAFITTE, La. (AP) - Bands of heavy rain and strong wind gusts from Tropical Storm Lee knocked out power to thousands in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday and prompted evacuations in bayou towns like Jean Lafitte, where water was lapping at the front doors of some homes.
The sluggish storm stalled just offshore for several hours before resuming its slow march northward late in the afternoon. Landfall was expected later in the day, and the storm threatened to dump more than a foot of rain across the Gulf Coast and into the Southeast in coming days. No injuries were reported, but there were scattered instances of water entering low-lying homes and businesses in Louisiana.
To the east, coffers were suffering at many coastal businesses that depend on a strong Labor Day weekend. Alabama beaches that would normally be packed were largely empty, and rough seas closed the Port of Mobile. Mississippi's coastal casinos, however, were open and reporting brisk business.
The center of the slow-moving storm was about 55 miles (90 kilometers) south-southwest of Lafayette, La., Saturday evening, spinning intermittent bands of stormy weather, alternating with light rain and occasional sunshine. It was moving north-northwest at about 4 mph (6 kph) in the late afternoon.
Its maximum sustained winds dropped to 50 mph (75 kph), and their intensity was expected to decrease further by Sunday. Tropical storm warnings stretched from the Louisiana-Texas state line to Destin, Fla.
The National Weather Service in Slidell said parts of New Orleans received between 6 and 8 inches of rain between Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon, and that coastal Mississippi points reported more than 6 inches. Officials in some suburban and rural areas of southeast Louisiana reported more than 10 inches.