NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tropical Storm Isidore blew ashore early Thursday with sustained winds just below hurricane strength and rain that flooded New Orleans streets with water up to the car windshields.
About 87,000 homes and businesses in southern Louisiana had lost power as the loosely organized storm worked its way inland with 65 mph wind. Tornado warnings and flood watches were posted from the central Louisiana coast to the Florida panhandle. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
At 7 a.m. CDT, Isidore's ill-defined center was near New Orleans and moving erratically northward at 13 mph. Hugh Cobb, meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said there were reports of tornadoes in Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
A tornado also touched down in Lafourche Parish, near the point where Isidore made landfall. Flying debris damaged three police vehicles in the area.
Forecasters said Isidore would weaken as it continued inland, though a tropical storm warning remained in effect from east of High Island, Texas, to St. Marks, Fla.
Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster, visiting the state's emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, said Port Fourchon appeared to be hit hard. The hugh oil terminal, on the Gulf where the storm made landfall, is the gateway to about 13 percent of the nation's crude oil and more than 75 percent of offshore oil and gas production in the central Gulf.
"Fourchon, I am told, is a lake right now," Foster said. He said he had reports of 5-foot tides, the highest he had ever heard of there.
As the storm's eye passed over Houma, tree limbs fell on utility lines and power went out throughout the town. Entergy Corp. reported about 87,000 southern Louisiana customers lost power.
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