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3,000 Flee Wind-Driven High Water in Louisiana

October 07, 1996| From Reuters

GRAND ISLE, La. — Wind-driven water and high tides forced about 3,000 people from their homes in low-lying coastal areas of Louisiana on Sunday.

"Most of our people got out earlier," a city spokeswoman said. "The water's still rising, coming in fast in some areas. It may be another 24 to 72 hours before anybody gets to go home."

Grand Isle is Louisiana's only inhabited barrier island, connected to the mainland by a two-lane highway that was under about 2 feet of water Sunday afternoon, state police said.

"Anybody still on the island is now stuck," one trooper said. "Nobody's going in or out for a while."

In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, east and southeast of New Orleans, residents of several small communities outside the mainline levees began evacuating Saturday night, a parish spokesmen said.

All of the areas affected have only one-road access.

Floodgates protecting the city of New Orleans from wind-driven water have been closed, a spokesman for the Orleans Parish Levee Board police said.

A National Weather Service spokesman said a high-pressure system in the northeast caused the strong easterly and northeasterly winds that are forcing Gulf waters inland.

The gale-force winds are expected to abate later today or Tuesday, he said.

Tropical depression No. 10, which is expected to strengthen to tropical-storm force this morning, will bypass the Louisiana coast, however, if it continues to track to the northeast, he said.

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