Hurricane Isaac packed 80 mph winds is about 50 miles south of New Orleans. It drove a wall of water nearly 11 feet high inland when it game ashore Tuesday night.
Hurricane Isaac pushed water over a rural levee, knocked out power and flooded beach-front roads before dawn in Louisiana and Mississippi as it began a slow, drenching slog inland from the Gulf of Mexico with a newly fortified New Orleans in its path.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's center was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south-southwest of New Orleans and moving inland slowly.
Wind gusts and sheets of rain pelted the nearly empty streets of New Orleans, where people watched the incoming Isaac from behind levees that were strengthened after the much stronger Hurricane Katrina hit seven years ago to the day.
Water driven by the large and powerful storm flooded over an 18-mile stretch of one levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, flooding some homes in a thinly populated area. The levee, one of many across the low-lying coastal zone, is not part of New Orleans' defenses.
Parish authorities believe some people may be trapped but were not sure how many may have remained despite an earlier evacuation. Rescuers were waiting for the strong winds to die down later in the day before moving out to search.
"We did have two parish police officers that were stuck in a car there. We just found out they were rescued and are safe," said emergency management spokeswoman Caitlin Campbell. Two other parish workers in a boat rescued them..
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