Almost exactly six years after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans, producing one of the worst natural disasters in American history, the Gulf Coast is set to get battered by another major storm. By all accounts, Tropical Storm Lee isn’t expected to cause the level of destruction that Katrina left behind, but it might test the rebuilt levees on the Mississippi. About 6,000 New Orleans residents were evacuated in advance of the storm’s landfall, and Louisiana and Mississippi have declared states of emergency. So far, about 35,000 homes in Louisiana were reported to be without power.

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In the Gulf of Mexico, about half of the offshore oil production was shut down, according to the New York Times, and more than 100 platform workers were evacuated. In addition to heavy rain and 60-MPH winds, tornado warnings were issued on Friday, but no touchdowns were reported. If there’s any upside to the storm, it’s this: The 10 to 20 inches of rain that Lee is expected to dump on the New Orleans area might help extinguish a marsh fire that has been burning about 1,500 acres of wetlands east of New Orleans, filling the city with smoke.

Via Reuters and The New York Times

Lead photo Photo © NASA