(Photos from AP, USAToday, Getty)
VIEWERS NOTICE: For live video images from New Orleans as storm hits, tune to digital channel 9.3. This channel will also be showing live radar from Louisiana. Additionally, you can track Isaac using our free weather app for iPhone as well as for Android in Google Play Marketplace. Just click the "i" in the upper right of screen after you download and choose "Hurricane Tracker."
UPDATED: 9: 38
LAPLACE, La. (AP) - At least 1,500 people have been forced from their homes by Isaac's floodwaters in St. John the Baptist Parish, west of New Orleans. And Gov. Bobby Jindal's office says thousands in the area should evacuate. Rising water closed off all main thoroughfares into the parish, and in many areas, water lapped up against houses and left cars stranded. Floodwaters rose to waist-high in some LaPlace neighborhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff's deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes and surprised by the flooding. The water was being driven higher by south winds as Tropical Storm Isaac passed to the west.
UPDATED: 8:45 p.m.
Tropical storm winds of at least 40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph extended up to 175 miles from the center. The slow-moving storm is expected to pelt Louisiana and coastal areas today and Thursday, bringing 7-14 inches of rain to most of the region with isolated amounts up to 25 inches.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Louisiana National Guard says they've wrapped up rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish, which was hit hard by flooding as Isaac stormed through. National Guard spokesman Capt. Lance Cagnolatti says guardsmen are confident they've swept the thinly populated area and no one is still there.
Guardsmen rescued between 60 and 70 people in the area. None had any serious injuries, though an elderly woman who required dialysis was taken to a hospital. Cagnolatti says the search turned up no bodies in the floodwater. Flooding has plagued the area since Isaac sloshed ashore Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane. Officials plan to intentionally breach a levee in the area to alleviate pressure on it.
UPDATED [6:26 p.m.]
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Tropical Storm Isaac slowed down and weakened Wednesday but still posed a potential flooding threat to Arkansas, where emergency officials were on alert to respond to any problems and some people were canceling travel plans for the upcoming holiday weekend. The track of the newly downgraded storm shifted west Wednesday, with the eye projected to reach northwest Arkansas by 1 p.m. Friday. It had been forecast to head through the middle of the state, and the track could change again.
With the Labor Day weekend approaching, the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department had plenty of cancellations at state campgrounds and lodges, many from Louisiana residents who decided to stay home because of the storm, agency spokeswoman Kat Robinson said. Though Isaac's tendrils were still far off Wednesday, the National Weather Service in North Little Rock issued a flash flood watch for most of Arkansas. The weather service has cautioned that drought has weakened a lot of trees and Isaac's rain and wind, expected to be between 20 mph and 30 mph, could knock down trees and power lines. Also, tropical storms can generate supercell thunderstorms that can spin off tornadoes with little warning.
UPDATED [5:34 p.m.]
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - One man who lives in a flooded area between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico has been using his boat to rescue stranded neighbors. Joshua Brockhaus says he's "getting text messages from all over asking for help."
He says Hurricane Isaac, which is now a tropical storm, had a bigger impact than expected because it lingered over the area for so long, dumping heavy rain.
Officials are considering whether to punch a hole in a levee to relieve some of the water spilling over a wall in the rural area. A mandatory evacuation area for part of the west bank of the Mississippi River affects about 3,000 people.
In New Orleans itself, the levee system has been holding. It was reinforced in the aftermath of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, which struck seven years ago today.
A nighttime curfew will take effect later today -- to prevent looting and to make it easier for utility crews to restore power.
More than 600,000 households and businesses in southeastern Louisiana lost power because of the storm.
UPDATED [4:12 P.M.]: (AP) ABBEVILLE, La. -- The first confirmed death attributed to Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana was reported in Vermilon Parish. Sheriff Mike Couvillon says a 36-year-old man had gone to help two friends move a vehicle from under a tree to prepare for Isaac on Tuesday, and fell to his death after climbing 18 feet up the tree. Deputies don't know why Carlos Medellin-Guillen of Erath climbed the tree. He was identified Wednesday after his family was notified.The accident occurred Tuesday evening shortly before Isaac made landfall to the east on the Louisiana coast. A 47-year-old man who went jetting Monday on a water-scooter near the Alabama-Florida state line is still missing. The Coast Guard in Mobile says it searched for him Wednesday.
UPDATED [3:40 P.M.]: WUSA9 Reporter Scott Broom has a LIVE CAM up with him in Biloxi, Mississippi as her reports on Isaac. Watch the live streaming video here.
UPDATED [3:17 P.M.]: The National Weather Service is reporting that Isaac has been downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm.
UPDATED [2:17 P.M.]: Video reaction of New Orleans residents to Isaac hitting the city.
UPDATED [1:30 P.M.]: Check out this USA Today map of Isaac's present and future path.
UPDATED [12:18 P.M.]: CNN reports that residents in the Plaquemines Parish have called to be rescued from rising floodwaters: "150+ residents call to be rescued from rising floodwaters in Plaquemines Parish. #Isaac on.cnn.com/Qwcgpc" the tweet reads.
UPDATED [11:49 A.M.]: Watch another video from the Associated Press of Isaac slamming the Mississippi Gulf Coast here.
UPDATED [11:12 A.M.]: Check out this raw video, courtesy of the Associated Press, of a view of Isaac from space.
UPDATED [10:50 A.M.]: AP correspondent Vicki Smith just posted this tweet with a photo from New Orleans: "Still windy in Nola, but we are going to try to get out to Plaquemines for #isaac".
Check out the photo she attached here.
UPDATED [10:28 A.M.]: The National Weather Service is reporting that Isaac has weakened "slightly as it moves slowly inland over southeastern Louisiana".
Full NWS report here.
UPDATED [10:20 A.M.]: USA Today's Alan Gomez just tweeted the following: "Just got off the phone with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency: they've received NO reports of injuries from #Isaac so far."
UPDATED [10:08 A.M.]: (AP): Utility companies say more than 500,000 have lost power as Hurricane Isaac moves through southeast Louisiana, bringing wind, rain and flooding.
UPDATED [9:40 A.M.]: Richard Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center has reportedly told CNN that Isaac's damage will continue: "For many people, it's not even half over."
Read the full CNN report here.
UPDATED [9:35 A.M.]: (AP): "Hurricane Isaac pushed water over a rural levee to flood some homes, knocked out power and immersed beach-front roads in Louisiana and Mississippi early Wednesday as it began a drenching slog inland from the Gulf of Mexico with a newly fortified New Orleans in its path.
Wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour and sheets of rain pelted New Orleans, where people braced themselves for the storm behind levees that were strengthened after the much stronger Hurricane Katrina hit seven years ago to the day."
UPDATED [9:20 A.M.]: (AP): "The gulf is churning large waves and white foam on Alabama's coast and the wind from Isaac is still whistling around buildings. But beachfront walkways and other structures along the shore appear intact."
UPDATED [9:08 A.M.]: (USA TODAY): Hurricane Isaac is forecast to keep lashing Louisiana with heavy rains Wednesday and Thursday as it hovers over the region, unleashing damaging 80-mph winds and causing widespread flooding in New Orleans and other coastal cities.
A swollen Mississippi River spilled over the top of a levee in at least one coastal community near New Orleans.Wind gusts of more than 80 mph extended 60 miles from the slow-slogging storm's center, with winds of nearly 40 mph extending up to 185 miles. The center of the storm, moving at 6 mph, was wobbling slowly inland at 6 mph over southeastern Louisiana.
UPDATED [9:00 A.M.]: The Associated Press has released this video of Hurricane Isaac "inundating" the Gulf Coast as hurricane-driven water rises several feet in some spots. Check it out here.
UPDATED [7:17 A.M.]: (AP) Hurricane Isaac is lashing New Orleans as it approaches and pushing flood waters over a rural levee south of the city, where authorities believe some people may be trapped.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's center early Wednesday was about 50 miles south-southwest of New Orleans and moving slowly. Authorities say a storm surge driven by Isaac pushed water over the top of an 18-mile stretch of levee in a thinly populated part of Plaquemines Parish.