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Isaac Weakens, but Flooding Dangers Remain

  • VOA News

Volunteers use a boat to recover sound equipment from a flooded church in the aftermath of Isaac, in Reserve, Louisiana, August 31, 2012.
Rains of one-time Hurricane Isaac are drenching the parched central U.S., even as residents of the Gulf Coast region cope with the vast flooding left in the storm's wake.

The National Hurricane Center said Friday that Isaac is now a tropical depression, moving north with diminished winds. But its toll was significant, with five deaths reported in the U.S., after it earlier killed 24 in Haiti and five in the Dominican Republic.

The storm, at its peak, cut power to more than 900,000 homes and businesses in the southern state of Louisiana and left numerous communities in murky floodwaters that may take days to recede. But the major city of New Orleans, its flood barriers reinforced after Hurricane Katrina devastated it in 2005, escaped major damage even as areas near it were inundated.

U.S. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney visited Lafitte, near New Orleans, to talk to residents about the damage there.

One Louisiana storm victim, Rich Musacchia, was rescued by the National Guard, but said he lost most of his possessions.

"I lost my vehicle, my home, my motorbike. I lost everything. What I have with me now is actually what I own," said Musacchia.

Hurricane forecasters also are watching two other storms in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Kirk and Tropical Storm Leslie, but said both are expected to stay out over open waters and pose no immediate threat to any islands.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.