Bands of heavy rain and strong wind gusts from Tropical Storm Lee knocked out power to thousands in south Louisiana and Mississippi today and prompted evacuations in bayou towns like Jean Lafitte, where water lapped at several front doors. The sluggish storm stalled just before making landfall, and threatened to dump more than a foot of rain across the northern Gulf Coast and into the Southeast in coming days. No injuries were reported and there were only scattered reports of water entering low-lying homes and businesses.
The center of the slow-moving storm was about 45 miles southwest of Morgan City, La., spinning intermittent bands of stormy weather, alternating with light rain and occasional sunshine. Its maximum sustained winds were 60 mph. Customer outages tallied by two energy companies added up to 32,400 at midday. The National Weather Service reported two-day rain totals approaching 9 inches in parts of south Louisiana and more than 5 inches near the Mississippi coast. Rain totals along the coast could reach 10 to 15 inches, even 20 in isolated spots, said one meteorologist.