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Louisiana braces for Harvey’s rain as it marks Katrina’s 12th anniversary

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01:35 - Source: CNN
Harvey brings 'hell' to Texas residents

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Harvey's outer bands could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to New Orleans this week

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CNN —  

New Orleans woke up with an uneasy sense of déjà vu Tuesday as it kept a wary eye on Tropical Storm Harvey while marking the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, on August 29, 2005, but its aftermath became the truly historic catastrophe. Federal levees and floodwalls crumbled, ushering powerful storm surge into the city and leaving 80 percent of New Orleans underwater for weeks. More than 1,500 people were killed and 200,000 properties were damaged.

Hurricane Katrina Statistics Fast Facts

Now, Louisiana is reviewing lessons learned from the deadly storm, as Harvey’s outer bands could douse the state over the coming days, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

Harvey is expected to make landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning along the Louisiana-Texas border, said Andy Patrick, National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge at the Lake Charles Weather Forecast Office. It will bring winds of 30-40 mph and a 2-4 foot storm surge.

Already, 500 people were rescued overnight Monday amid flooding in and around Lake Charles, in western Louisiana, the governor said.

“The Katrina situation is one that ever since then, we know how to deal with rain, we know how to deal with floods,” Edwards told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday. “We’ve got a lot of experienced people. We’ve got the right equipment.”

“One of the things we’re trying to do is be the best neighbor possible to Texas, because they were very gracious and hospitable. They took in a lot of people after Katrina, if you remember,” Edwards said. “And they remain the center of gravity as it relates to Harvey. … So we are trying to focus on preparing for and responding to the storm here in Louisiana, but also trying to help our neighbor in Texas.”

New Orleans under flash-flood watch

Devastation from Harvey looks “frighteningly familiar” to his city after Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. In Houston alone, more than 3,500 people have been rescued from flooding, and many more are believed to be in need of help as the rain keeps pouring.

Public facilities and schools in New Orleans were closed Tuesday, but Landrieu said schools will reopen on Wednesday in the city.

He said 3-4 inches of rain have fallen so far around the city, with some isolated areas receiving up to five inches.

New Orleans is under a flash-flood watch and could see localized flooding, with 4 to 8 inches of rain predicted through Thursday, CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.

“If all goes well, we won’t see catastrophic flooding like in Houston,” Ward said. “We’ll only see minor flooding.”

Because of the “uncertainty of the warnings that we have had with the flash floods, with the potential rain bands and our diminished capacity, the better part of wisdom is for everybody to stay home and to protect life and property,” Landrieu said.

13 drainage pump remain offline

The forecast comes as New Orleans’ drainage system is at a diminished capacity following recent pumping failures.