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Isidore drips northward; 2 dead

isidore
Lester Swanson carries his dog out of his flooded subdivision Thursday evening in Slidell, Louisiana.

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After causing weeks of rain and severe weather, Tropical Storm Isidore finally makes landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana. CNN's John Zarrella reports (September 26)
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Tropical Depression Isidore
At 5 p.m. EDT Thursday
Latitude: 33.0 degrees north
Longitude: 89.7 degrees west
Position: About 50 miles north-northeast of Jackson, Mississippi
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JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) -- The much-feared Isidore whimpered out over land Thursday, but the heavy rain it brought left swaths of flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana. The rain continued into the evening in the northern part of the Magnolia state as the system moved into Tennessee.

Middle and west Tennessee will spend the night under a flood watch after Isidore dumped up to 6 inches of rain on the state.

Two people in Mississippi were killed as a result of the tropical storm. Amy Carruth, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said a 67-year-old man in Henderson Point died of a heart attack early Thursday morning. Rescue crews were unable to reach his home due to high waters and flooded roads in the area.

A 31-year-old man in Scott County died Thursday afternoon when he drove his car off a highway to dodge a falling tree in the heavy rain, Carruth said. No other serious injuries were reported in the state.

Isidore's winds have fizzled into a tropical depression, but forecasters warn life-threatening floods are still a risk from the 4 to 8 inches of rain expected near the path of the storm system as it heads north to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys.

Isolated tornadoes are also possible overnight in portions of central and northern Alabama and parts of central Georgia.

Officials in water-logged Mississippi fear their troubles will worsen when the rain falling in the north runs down river.

'Worst flood they have seen in probably 20 years'

"The Gulf Coast has really been hit hard as far as flooding and water damage," Carruth said. "But over the next 24 hours we're really concerned about river flooding -- the storm is moving upstate, upstream and what is upstream has got to come downstream."

"We're looking at more flooding by this weekend," she said. "We're not talking about something that's going to stop today when the rain stops."

Some 10 to 12 inches of rain had fallen, with an additional 8 to 10 more expected said Carruth, who described the precipitation as "unbelievable."

"We've got two counties -- Pike and Lincoln -- their emergency management directors said this is the worst flood they have seen in probably 20 years," said Carruth.

Carruth said those directors called her office from boats to report the status of their counties Thursday morning -- the rising water had forced them from their offices.

Five shelters were still open in the state late Thursday afternoon. Some residents returning to flood-damaged homes found they had no electricity.

Carruth said damage assessment teams would fan out across the state Friday to survey the ravages of Isidore.

In neighboring Louisiana, where the storm hit first, Federal Emergency Management Director Joe Allbaugh toured hard-hit areas in a helicopter with Gov. Mike Foster. The state has asked for a federal disaster declaration so it can begin receiving federal aid to help residents.

In Delacroix, a fishing town east of New Orleans, Susan Serpas told The Associated Press, "I don't know whose they are, but I've got three recliner chairs in my yard."

Southern Louisiana 'getting back to normal'

Deborah Conrad of Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness said a preliminary survey shows about 2,300 structures in the state were flooded and are inaccessible. She said 38 shelters were still open statewide and about 2,500 residents were in them.

"Most of the south of the state is getting back to normal," she said. "People are going back to their homes."

That includes most of the 1,500 residents of Grand Isle, who evacuated Tuesday. The only road linking the resort island with the mainland was closed when it flooded. About 50 people, mostly firefighters and police officers, remained on the island.

"We had to do some relocations last night of residents who had decided to stay but then got worried when they saw the water rising," said fire official Laine Landry, adding that the entire island was still without power.

About one mile of Grand Isle's protection levee on the beach was lost when Isidore swept ashore, Landry said, and many houses on the island were flooded.

New Orleans' main expressway, Interstate 10, was reopened Thursday night, police said, after flooding Wednesday submerged the road and several cars. Patrick Evans, director of communications for Mayor Ray Nagin, said there were no reports of serious injuries or accidents.

He said forecasters called for "gorgeous" weather for the weekend.

"We want people to come here and have fun," Evans said.

CNN Correspondent Jeff Flock contributed to this report.



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