Photo: Weather Channel
More than 50,000 people in Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish have been ordered to immediately evacuate as water from Tropical Storm Isaac is threatening to overwhelm a dam nearby in Mississippi, NBC News reports.A parish spokesman told NBC that “imminent failure” of the dam is expected, but Mississippi officials said the water building up at the Lake Tangipahoa Dam in Percy Quin State Park wouldn’t threaten communities downstream because they plan do a controlled breach in an attempt to divert the water to less populated areas.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said that the plan is to breach the dam to lower the water to about 8 feet and do a slow release into Pike County.
Hundreds were evacuated overnight as the slow-moving storm flooded areas in southern Louisiana and poured water on the 700-acre lake, which is 80 miles south of Jackson Miss. and 100 miles north of New Orleans, La.
The Weather Channel estimates that up to 60,000 residents live in the area.
Isaac is currently making its way inland, heading north/northwest at about 9 mph, with winds of about 40 mph and persistent rain.
Yesterday Weather Channel senior meteorologist Jon Erdman said Isaac will likely dump more rain over parts of Louisiana and Mississippi than Katrina did.
New Orleans set a daily record of 7.86 inches of rain on Wednesday (compared to 4.5 inches by Katrina in 2005).
The Public Service Commission says 901,000 homes and businesses around Louisiana are currently without power.
Rep. Steve Pugh told WDSU that they are still trying to evacuate people and place them in shelters.
Jindal has encouraged residents in the area to evacuate and says there is a lot of stress on the state-operated damn but the initial reports are that the structural integrity is sound based on continuing efforts to relieve pressure. However, the concern is that if there is a any kind of breach, the already-high Tangipahoa river could rise an additional two feet.
Note: These are not federal levees as they are outside of the federal levee system.
Here’s live coverage from @WDSU:
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