NEW ORLEANS Louisiana's Jefferson Parish has ordered a mandatory evacuation for three towns as Tropical Storm Lee brings heavy rains into the area, a Parish official said on Saturday.
Jefferson Parish Council member Chris Roberts reported the evacuation was ordered for the towns of Lafitte, Crown Point and Barataria.
Heavy rains and tidal surge pushed Bayou Barataria over its banks in the area near New Orleans, and Roberts said if residents in low-lying spots didn't leave now, it could be a couple of days before they were able to get out.
Slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee has strengthened as it lumbers toward the Louisiana coast, bringing torrential rains that will put the flood defenses of low-lying New Orleans to the test.
The storm is expected to reach the Louisiana coast later on Saturday and bring 10-15 inches of rain to southeast Louisiana over the next few days, including to New Orleans, which was battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
(Reporting by Kathy Finn; Editing by Jerry Norton)