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September 3rd, 2012
08:09 AM ET

Isaac's leftovers soak parts of Midwest – George Howell on preps and cleanup efforts in Gulf

The remnants of what was hurricane Isaac is expected to soak parts of the Midwest today. But so far, it has side stepped most of the Midwestern and Plains states hit hardest by drought.

Later today, President Obama will tour flood-damaged parts of Louisiana as initial inspections reportedly show New Orleans levees and pumps held up as advertised.

This morning on "Early Start," George Howell reports on the cleanup and how Midwestern states are preparing for the last gasp of Isaac.

Filed under: Isaac
August 30th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

New Orleans recovery operations for Isaac going 'hard and heavy' today, city deputy mayor says

New Orleans is still in the midst of slow-moving Tropical Storm Isaac today. Trees are down and streets are flooded while some residents remain in desperate need of rescue. But a dozen cases of looting have been reported as of yesterday as well.

Lt. Col Jerry Sneed is both the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Director for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for the city of New Orleans. He leads the storm response for the city and speaks to Zoraida Sambolin on “Early Start” this morning with the latest.

“The big thing is no power for about 160,000 of our citizens,” he says. “The winds are finally dying down,” Sneed adds. Some of his crews started cleaning up yesterday, but the winds were still too high to work safely. Sneed says they’ll “start recovery options today, hard and heavy,” when it’s safer.

“We want to get the power back up. We want to get the streets right and get our citizens back, he says. “But we can’t jeopardize life. So we’ll take care of our public safety people and energy and so forth and work safely.”

Sneed also praises the New Orleans police who have been on the scene to arrest looters. “Everybody’s got some bad people out there that will burglarize and loot even in good weather,” he says, “but the police department is doing a wonderful job.”

Filed under: Isaac
August 30th, 2012
06:34 AM ET

Delgadillo family recounts dramatic rescue after Hurricane Isaac floods Plaquemines Parish

Hurricane Isaac put the levees in the Gulf Coast to the ultimate test yesterday on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Two levees outside of the federal levee system in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana were overtopped and flood waters have reached 14-feet, trapping some residents during the storm.

The Delgadillo family fled to their attic when their home flooded until they were rescued by neighbors. Rafael Delgadillo joins Zoraida Sambolin over the phone on “Early Start” this morning to talk about the ordeal.

He and his family “didn’t really have much time to panic and get scared,” Delgadillo says. Delgadillo says a neighbor called to make sure the family was okay and said to “hang tight” until he could help. The neighbors risked their lives to rescue the family from the attic in the morning.

When asked why Delgatillo didn't heed the mandatory evacuation, he says it just didn't seem like Isaac would wreak havoc.

"During Katrina, my house didn't take on any water. Pretty much everybody in that neighborhood, we realized it was a category 1 storm coming in. We didn't feel threatened," he says.

Delgadillo says his 8-year-old daughter and rest of his family are fine after the rescue. He also says he thanks Jesse Shaffer and his son for rescuing his family.

Filed under: Isaac
August 30th, 2012
06:21 AM ET

Isaac damages could reach $1.5 billion, catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat says – Christine Romans explains


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - Hurricane Isaac's slow, rainy march through Louisiana is expected to cause as much as $1.5 billion in insured losses, according to one disaster modeling firm.

While comparatively modest as hurricanes go, Hurricane Isaac is already wreaking havoc. More than 644,000 were without power in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, power companies told CNN. And some 100 residents had been or were in the process of being rescued from flooded homes and rooftops in coastal Plaquemines Parish, according to CNN affiliate WWL.

Eqecat, a catastrophe modeling firm, suggested onshore insured damage - which includes residential property, commercial property, energy production and the interruption of business but excludes most flooding damage - would run between $500 million and $1.5 billion. The firm excludes flooding because the federal government insures against flood damage for most properties.

The storm could also cause more than $500 million in damages to off-shore energy production.

This morning on "Early Start," Christine Romans shares details from this early damage assessment from Hurricane Isaac.

Read more: Hurricane Isaac damages could hit $1.5 billion

Filed under: Isaac • Minding Your Business
August 30th, 2012
06:14 AM ET

Locascio family happy they stayed home in New Orleans for Isaac

Hurricane Isaac blasted through the Gulf Coast on the sevent anniversary of Hurricane Katrina yesterday. Residents in New Orleans are still reeling from the rough winds and rain in the city now. Many evacuated before Isaac landed, but some like Joe Locascio and his family chose to sit tight to ride out the storm.

Tuesday morning he told CNN he was without power and there was a lot of debris in the area. Locascio updates Zoraida Sambolin on the condition of his home and neighborhood on “Early Start” this morning.

“Right now the conditions are pretty good,” he says. Still without power, Locascio says the temperature is cool and it rains occasionally. “It’s safe to go out,” he adds. He and his family went out and talked to neighbors. His daughter even biked around the debris.

Locascio says he's glad that he chose to ride out the storm at home.

"I'm happy so far, because we had some water leaks in the house. If we weren't here, we wouldn't have been able to stop the leaks. We would have come back to real damage in the house," he says.

Filed under: Isaac
August 29th, 2012
11:25 AM ET

Hurricane trackers take on Isaac – crew takes technology into heart of storm

Hurricanetrack.com founder Mark Sudduth explains how new tech that allows livestreaming video of hurricanes as they happen.

Filed under: Isaac
August 29th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Harrison County residents weather storm as Isaac lashes Mississippi coast

Hurricane Isaac made landfall twice in the last day and is now back on land in southern Louisiana, pounding on the Gulf Coast.

President Obama has declared states of emergency in Louisiana and in Mississippi's coastal areas including Harrison County, which has issued mandatory evacuations for residents in low-lying areas. Two other nearby counties have issued similar orders, and an estimated 175,000 residents could be affected.

Rupert Lacy, director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency, talks with Zoraida on "Early Start" this morning with an update on conditions in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Filed under: Isaac
August 29th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

New Orleans native Joe Locascio rides out Isaac at home

New Orleans resident Joe Locascio reports on how his family is faring as they ride out Hurricane Isaac at home.

Filed under: Isaac
August 29th, 2012
08:34 AM ET

FEMA's Craig Fugate says Isaac response 'moment by moment'

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has the latest on the federal response to hurricane Isaac.

Filed under: Isaac
August 29th, 2012
06:24 AM ET

BREAKING NEWS: Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser details levee overtopping and two stranded parish workers

After hurricane Isaac made landfall last night, overnight officials are reporting "overtopping of a levee on the east bank" from Braithwaite to White Ditch in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, which will "result in significant deep flooding in the area," the National Weather Service said.

Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish president, spoke to Zoraida Sambolin on "Early Start" about the overtopping of a levee in the parish.

“We knew we were going to have trouble with the projected storm surge, but we were hoping this storm wasn’t going to sit out there as long as it has done, backtracked, and keep pumping this water up against the levees. And there’s only just so much that it can take," Nungesser says.

Nungesser also reported that two parish workers were stranded on the levee.

“We're going to do everything possible,” says Nungesser. “What we do is our pump operators stay in the pump stations as long as they feel safe. The minute they feel safety is a problem, they are authorized to leave immediately and come to the government complex. These workers saw the water coming over the levee, got in their vehicle and headed out. It came up within minutes to where they didn't feel safe driving their vehicle any further. So they stopped on the levee and we began to try to get to them to get them out of there.”

The Plaquemines Parish President went on to say that a resident in the area was going to attempt to rescue the two parish members with his personal boat. “It sounds awfully dangerous. It is. he's very brave and we didn't encourage him to do it but he insisted to try to bring these men back to the main levee.”

This post will continue to be updated throughout the morning.

Filed under: Isaac
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