President Barack Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday, as Hurricane Isaac continued to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast.
According to a statement from the White House, the disaster declarations free up federal aid for affected areas.
For almost an entire day rain fell in Louisiana, flooding neighborhoods in a rural part of the state and in neighboring Mississippi.
As reported by the Associated Press:
The storm knocked out power to as many as 700,000 people, stripped branches off trees and flattened fields of sugar cane so completely that they looked as if a tank had driven over them.
In coastal Mississippi, officials used small motorboats Wednesday to rescue at least two dozen people from a neighborhood Isaac flooded in Pearlington. In addition, the National Weather Service said there were reports of at least three possible tornadoes touching down in coastal counties. No injuries were reported.
The storm stalled for several hours before resuming a crawl inland, and forecasters said that was in keeping with its erratic history. The slow motion over land means Isaac could be a major soaker, dumping up to 20 inches of rain in some areas. New Orleans reported at about 10 inches in some places as rain continued to fall late Wednesday.
There are numerous reports of power outages and thousands of people left homeless as Isaac rained on the Gulf Coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with those surviving through the storm.