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Hurricane Isaac weakens to tropical storm, threats remain

(Xinhua)

10:05, August 30, 2012

A cameraman from Colombia films the flooding along the coast in New Orleans, the United States, Aug. 29, 2012. Hurricane Isaac weakened to a tropical storm on Wednesday afternoon with storm surge and inland flooding still threatening, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's destructive arrival. (Xinhua/Marcus DiPaola)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Isaac weakened to a tropical storm on Wednesday afternoon with storm surge and inland flooding still threatening, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center on the 7th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's destructive arrival.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Isaac is currently moving on at 6 mph (9.7 kph), with the maximum sustained wind of 70mph (113 kph), and centered about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana.

But the center warned life-threatening hazards from storm surge and inland flooding still remained.

Although Isaac was much weaker than Katrina, forecasters said the current slow movement and the large size of Isaac could cause hours longer impact on residents living along its path.

Isaac has lashed heavy rains and winds to the state of Louisiana since it made landfall in southeastern U.S. state late Tuesday as a Category One Hurricane.

Early Wednesday, a storm surge has topped a levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, the largest city of Louisiana and most-devastated area seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

Local officials said they had been working with U.S. Coast Guard to rescue people stranded on top of the levee, and they may have to breach the levee in the flooded area.

Utility companies said more than 500,000 people were left without power across Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The weather condition will persist through Wednesday night or early Thursday, said Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.

Dozens of families that had ignored mandatory evacuation orders in a low-lying area had to retreat to roofs and sought rescue amid fierce wind and slashing rains, the CNN reported.

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