Hurricane Isaac claims first life in Mississippi
Truck driver trying to clear debris struck and killed by falling tree
Hurricane Isaac has reportedly claimed its first life as a tow truck driver in Picayune, Mississippi tried to remove debris from the road and was struck by a falling tree. Isaac continues to pound the Gulf States with a vengeance, forcing thousands to flee their homes.
The hurricane-turned-tropical-storm has dumped heavy rains, with rising water levels along the northern Gulf Coast.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant told TV reporters in Gulfport that "This is a man-made beach," indicating the area where he was standing. "Most of that sand is gone. Thousands of homes have been damaged; people have been out of their homes and will be."
Residents of Washington Parish in neighboring Louisiana were alerted that the Bogue Chitto River was expected to rise by 14 feet overnight.
National Guard troops looked for people stranded in St. John the Baptist Parish after thousands were forced to evacuate when a surge forced water over the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.
Even more worrisome is the fact that some areas could see 25 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Southeast of New Orleans, in Plaquemines Parish, 3,000 people remained in an area close to an eight-foot-tall levee that was threatened by rising waters, Governor Bobby Jindal's office said.
A hundred people who had ignored an evacuation order were rescued Wednesday in a flooded part of the parish. Authorities from the sheriff's office and National Guard "will begin looking house to house to make sure they got everyone," Parish President Billy Nungesser said.
"We didn't have time to panic," Rafael Delgadillo of Braithwaite, Louisiana told reporters. His family was rescued by a neighbor. "We were in survivor mode," he said.
In addition, nearly a million customers were without electricity across Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Utility companies reported more than 978,000 customers without power.
Water boiling advisories were also being issued in a number of towns and cities along the Gulf Coast.
In Slidell, Louisiana, a flash flood emergency was declared. Surge flooding from Bayou Bonfouca and the W-14 canal gushed into parts of the city. Sudden inundation of up to five feet was possible in low-lying areas.
"There is water all around me," one resident says. "It looks like my home is in a lake. The area is completely flooded ... pretty much the whole neighborhood has three to five feet of water. We saw a big military vehicle stop by to ask us if we are OK.
"It is strange that the water is going down really slowly.
"The most amazing thing is that I still have power," he said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Hurricane Isaac, flooding, Louisiana, Mississippi, fatality
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