Hurricane Isaac weakened to a tropical storm as it made its way into Louisiana, with flood defenses built to protect New Orleans proving in good shape so far. The storm's slow progress means rainfall will be intensive.
The weather system weakened slightly as it made its way slowly inland over southeastern Louisiana, weather experts said.
At around 10 a.m. local time, the center of Isaac was located 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of the town of Houma, according to the US National Hurricane Center. That placed it about 80 kilometers miles south-southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana.
The storm had originally targeted the Florida panhandle region before turning toward New Orleans - and awaking fears of a repeat of 2005.
There had been much concern ahead of Isaac's arrival that flood defenses built to protect the city in the wake of that year's devastating Hurricane Katrina disaster might not stand the strain.
Although the storm drove water over the top of one such protective levee, the barrier was not breached.
Lowland floods forecast
Heading slowly northwest, Isaac was said to be producing winds at a topmost speed of 130 kilometers per hour. Although the eye of Isaac was moving away from the city, the NHC said, hurricane force winds could be felt there.
Between Wednesday and Friday, the storm was expected to cause 35 centimeters (14 inches) - or more - of rain in an area including Louisiana, southern Mississippi and southwest Alabama. "These rains could result in significant lowland flooding," the NHC said in a statement.
DW's correspondent in Destin, on the Florida coast, reported that damage there had been less severe than originally feared.
At Category 3, Katrina was a much stronger storm than Isaac, rated initially at Category 1. New Orleans has since invested over $10 billion (8 billion euros) in flood-defense systems.
rc / mkg (AFP, Reuters)