It wasn't as bad as Hurricane Katrina, although that's not saying much.
Tropical Storm Lee made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. The first rain bands hit New Orleans last Thursday, and the metropolitan area has seen about 15 inches of rain since then. The downpour flooded some neighborhoods three feet deep, and coastal areas were flooded by a combination of the torrential rain and a storm surge from Lake Ponchartrain.
In Plaquemines Parish outside of New Orleans, water from Lake Ponchartrain topped the levees, but the flooding was nowhere near as catastrophic as when the levees failed during Hurricane Katrina. Lee spawned a handful of tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama, but no injuries were reported. No deaths had been attributed to the storm as of Monday morning, accordifng to MSNBC, although two people may have drowned in heavy surf.
More than 6,000 people in Louisiana were without power on Sunday night, The New York Times reported, but power had been restored to nearly 30,000 others since the day before.
As of Monday morning, Lee was in Mississippi, and at least 10 inches of rain had already fallen in the capital, Jackson. The storm was expected to enter Alabama on Tuesday. Much of the Southeast continued to be at risk of flash flooding, with watches and warnings extending as far east as the Florida Panhandle.
Robbie Berg of the National Hurricane Center told CBS News that the threat of flooding would likely be even worse when Lee reached the Appalachian Mountains, because the Gulf Coast is protected somewhat by the flatness of its terrain. On the coast, floodwaters are just going to sit there for a couple of days, he said, whereas up in the Appalachians, you get more threat of flash floods.
The storm was not very powerful in terms of winds -- it never reached hurricane strength, and by Monday it had been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, with sustained winds of about 35 miles per hour -- but it was remarkably slow-moving, which meant it had time to dump torrential rain on New Orleans, off and on, for many hours.
Residents are used to this, though, at least to some extent. Flooding is a fact of life in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast, and the damage from Tropical Storm Lee, though serious, was not nearly as devastating as it could have been.
This is nothing new to us, Madisonville resident Steve Benton told Nola.com. Every time we have a hurricane or tropical storm, this happens. It has happened for hundreds and thousands of years, and it will continue to happen. There were quite a few flooded homes here during Katrina, but they were raised since then and were fine.