[QODLink]
Americas
Louisiana braces for tropical storm Lee
State of emergency declared as meteorologist warns storm has 50-60 per cent chance of turning into a hurricane.
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2011 16:59
The storm has a 50-60 per cent chance of turning into a hurricane, according to a meteorologist [AFP]

Tropical Storm Lee is threatening the Louisiana coast amid torrential rains and flooding that have nearly shut half of US offshore crude oil production and a third of offshore gas production.

The slow-moving storm, which started on Friday, is expected to reach the Louisiana coast early on Sunday and bring 10-15 inches (25-38 cm) of rain to southeast Louisiana over the weekend.

The US  National Hurricane Center said areas at risk include low-lying New Orleans, which was battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Lee was about 295km southwest of the Mississippi River's mouth, with maximum winds of 75kph, the hurricane centre said.

Its heavy rain and gusty winds were already buffeting the Louisiana coast, it said.

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's governor, warned that heavy rains,substantial winds and tidal surges from the Gulf of Mexico could produce flash flooding in parts of New Orleans throughout the Labour Day holiday weekend.

"Get ready for the wind, get ready for the rain, it's coming and it's going to be here for a while," Jindal said at a briefing in Baton Rouge, the capital.

Jindal has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour made a similar ruling for seven coastal counties.

Lee has a 50-60 per cent chance of reaching hurricane strength, Bernie Rayno, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, told Reuters Insider.

"The problem with this system is that it's so slow-moving," Rayno said. "The big story is going to be the flooding."

Major offshore producers like Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp and BP Plc shut down platforms and evacuated staff earlier this week.

Last week Hurricane Irene lashed the east coast and New York, killing dozens of people and knocking out power lines for millions of people.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list