Isaac leaves behind outages, evacuations

August 31, 2012 — The storm once known as Hurricane Isaac, now classified as a tropical storm, is petering out in the American Midwest, but has left in its wake a mess of flooding, power outages and cities emptied of their residents.

Along the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, the storm that came aground as a Category 1 hurricane left as many as 900,000 people without power at its peak, according to Entergy. The utility has restored power to about 97,000 customers as of press time.

According to Entergy, the only storms that have cause more outages were Katrina with 1.1 million affected customers, Gustav with 964,000 and Rita with 800,000.

The storm and related hazards have caused at least four deaths, according to reports. Some cities have ordered a sunrise-to-sunset curfew in the interest of public safety.

A total of 30 transmission substations were out in Louisiana and Mississippi. Utilities deployed about 15,000 utility workers to those two states.

In addition, the number of damaged transmission lines included one in Entergy Arkansas, 13 in Entergy Mississippi, 34 in Entergy Louisiana, three in Entergy New Orleans and 12 in Entergy Gulf States Louisiana.

No Entergy fossil or nuclear power plants were damaged by the storm, and employees at Entergy's Waterford 3 nuclear power plant began preparing to restart the plant August 30. The plant, located 25 miles from New Orleans, was safely shut down in advance of Isaac's landfall.

In some areas, the storm dropped as much as 16 inches of water, sometimes stranding residents on their rooftops in scenes that might recall the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Meteorologists reported Isaac was a slow-moving storm, which left the Gulf Coast hammered by heavy rains.

President Barack Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi, according to a statement from the White House.

Utilities from as far off as Oklahoma and Texas have reportedly sent crews to assist with the power restoration effort.

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