Southeast Alabama is slowly beginning to dry out after Isaac. Shops and stores along the Alabama gulf coast are re-opening for business. Alabama Power reported restoring power to most of Dauphin Island shortly before 5PM Wednesday. Isaac has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, but has stalled over southeastern Louisiana dumping many inches of rain on the Gulf Coast.That means Alabama's Gulf Coast isn't quite out of the woods yet. The forecast calls for more rain in the Mobile area between now and Friday, and a bit drier over the weekend.
South Alabama farmers reported receiving some damage from Hurricane Isaac, but say it was not as bad as it could have been. The worst damage appeared to be to pecan crops, always sensitive to high winds and rain. Jeremy Sessions said an early inspection of his Grand Bay farm revealed damage to pecan trees. He said some limbs filled with pecans were blown over. He expects many of the pecans remaining on trees were ruined. Oliver Washington said he didn't lose any greenhouses at the Shore Acres Plant Farm at Theodore.
The approach of Isaac put much of the northern Gulf coast on alert. Here in Alabama, the major concern was tropical storm force winds, the threat of spin up tornadoes, and flooding from storm surge. Homeowners in flood prone areas along Mobile Bay were placed under a voluntary evacuation order. But, not all residents with beach front property were able to move. Some were dug in…literally.
As Tropical Storm Isaac neared the coast of Alabama and nearby states, Attorney General Luther Strange warned his office would be on the lookout for those who might exploit the situation by committing fraud. When Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency Sunday he triggered the state's laws cracking down on price gouging and looting. The anti-looting law was adopted after last spring's devastating April tornadoes. It makes looting a crime and provides stiff penalties for those who exploit a tragedy like a hurricane or tornado.
There are still hotel and motel rooms available in some Alabama cities for coastal residents trying to escape from Isaac. For those who have been unable to find a room, the Alabama Department of Tourism is providing a toll- free number to tell evacuees where a room might be available. State tourism director Lee Sentell said there were still rooms available in Montgomery for Monday night, but that they were filling up fast for Tuesday night. He said rooms were almost all booked in Auburn for both nights. He said there were still rooms available in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
Some towns in Alabama's two coastal counties are delaying their municipal elections Tuesday due to Isaac and the evacuation of some voters. Officials in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Bay Minette, Dauphin Island, Magnolia Springs, Prichard, Loxley and Bayou La Batre say they plan to reschedule their municipal elections. Some are choosing Sept. 11 and others Sept. 25 as the new date. Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier says the new date is subject to approval by the U.S. Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act. The postponements mean some voters will go to the polls twice in eight days.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has told the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate closely with officials in states and localities in the path of tropical storm Isaac. Obama also has told the governor of Florida that federal officials are prepared to help ensure the safety of visitors to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Obama was briefed Sunday by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate (FYOO'-gayt) and Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Forecasters say a strengthened Tropical Storm Isaac is bearing down on the Florida Keys. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Isaac was centered about 135 miles (220 kms) east-southeast of Key West at 8 a.m. EDT Sunday. The storm has top sustained winds of about 65 mph (100 kph) and is moving toward the west-northwest at 20 mph (31 kph). Hours earlier, Isaac's winds were clocked at about 60 mph (95 kph).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has cancelled a trip to the Republican National Convention so he can monitor preparations as Tropical Storm Isaac approaches the United States. Bentley said Saturday that he wants to make sure preparations and resources are in place. The storm had pushed into Cuba on Saturday and was headed northwest, possibly threatening Alabama's coast along the Gulf of Mexico. The governor urged Alabama residents to monitor weather forecasts. He said the storm could bring damaging winds and heavy rain to the state. He urged residents to prepare.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The center of Tropical Storm Isaac has cleared Haiti but heavy rain is falling in the capital and elsewhere from the outer bands of the system. Rocks, mud and other debris litter the streets of Port-au-Prince this morning and the city is on high alert for potential flooding. But the worst of the storm has hit far from the capital. The center of Isaac passed over the southern peninsula near the small city of Les Cayes and headed toward southern Cuba. There were no immediate reports Saturday of any deaths or major damage in Haiti.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley says state officials are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Isaac in the Caribbean and will decide later if drastic measures are needed such as reversing interstate highway lanes or ordering massive evacuations.
Bentley also says if Isaac appears to threaten Alabama he will stay in the state and cancel plans next week to go to Tampa for the Republican National Convention.