Tropical Storm Lee Heads North Bringing Floods, Outages to South

Storm system flooded Louisiana and caused power outages in Misssissippi.

Sept. 5, 2011 — -- With Hurricane Katia picking up steam as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean today, Tropical Depression Lee moved up the East Coast after drenching parts of the deep South and leaving thousands without power.

Today the skies over Louisiana were clearing after Lee, which made landfall as a tropical storm Sunday, dropping more than 14 inches of rain in some parts -- more than the state normally gets in a month. Although the storm system was downgraded to a depression overnight, forecasters still warned of heavy rain and flooding.

"I've never seen water come up that high," resident Kendall Fisher said. "People are wading through. It's up to their knees."

In Mississippi, 4,600 customers were reportedly without power. One death in the state was attributed to the storm. John Howard Anderson Jr., 57, of Corinth, drowned Sunday after he was swept away by floodwaters.

In Slidell, La., 'It's All Flooded'

In some parts of Louisiana, small boats were the only way to get around. Winds knocked down trees and spawned water spouts.

The storm put New Orleans' post-Katrina flood protection to the test. In Plaquesmines Parish, south of New Orleans, authorities planned to cut a hole in a levee to drain water.

In the Big Easy, some streets were flooded but the pumping system kept pace. Evacuations appeared to be in the hundreds, not the thousands.

In its wake, Lee left one street in the Palm Lake area of Slidell, La., looking more like a lake.

"This is a subdivision," resident Jessy Wheeler told ABC News. "You can look here now. It's all flooded. You got people walking in it, boats and everything back here."

Before Lee was downgraded, the storm produced almost 20 tornadoes during the weekend in several Gulf Coast states.

Craig Staples told ABC News that it felt like Hurricane Katrina again. "Not as bad, kind of scary," Staples said. "It's a shock."

Meanwhile, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that Katia, now a Category 2 storm, would continue to get stronger today. Experts said they did not expect the hurricane to reach land but warned that winds from the storm could affect the East Coast.

This weekend, President Obama declared states of emergency in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia, freeing up federal resources for the recovery effort after Irene.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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