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Tropical Storm Lee hits Gulf

Workers hand off sandbags to stop floodwaters from Bayou Barataria from encroaching on homes and businesses in the town of Jean Lafitte, La.

AP PHOTO

JEAN LAFITTE, La. — Bands of heavy rain and strong wind gusts from Tropical Storm Lee knocked out power to thousands in south Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday and prompted evacuations in bayou towns like Jean Lafitte, where water lapped at several front doors.

The sluggish storm stalled just before making landfall, and threatened to dump more than a foot of rain across the northern Gulf Coast and into the Southeast in coming days. No injuries were reported and there were only scattered reports of water entering low-lying homes and businesses.

The center of the slow-moving storm was about 45 miles southwest of Morgan City, La., Saturday afternoon, spinning intermittent bands of stormy weather, alternating with light rain and occasional sunshine. Its maximum sustained winds were 60 mph.

The National Weather Service in Slidell reported two-day rain totals approaching 9 inches in parts of south Louisiana and more than 5 inches near the Mississippi coast.

Meteorologist Mike Shields said the storm continued to move slowly and forecasts still said rain totals along the coast could reach 10 to 15 inches, even 20 in isolated spots.

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