Tracking the Tropics

Sep 5, 2012 2:00 PM by AP

Tar balls on coast part of Isaac's aftermath

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Lingering effects of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana include more than 20,000 electric customers still without power, an estimated 700 people still in shelters and gobs of weathered oil washing ashore along a stretch of coastline.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has approved more than $10 million in assistance for damage or losses to dwellings and property for more than 4,800 families as of Wednesday morning. Nearly 95,000 have applied for such aid, the governor's office said.

State-run shelters that once held more than 6,000 Isaac evacuees were empty by Tuesday night. Other local or Red Cross shelters held an estimated 700 Wednesday.

FEMA said more than 1,200 had applied for its transitional housing program which could provide hotel rooms through Sept. 16 for people whose homes cannot be lived in due to Isaac damage or who live in neighborhoods still inaccessible after the storm.

Power outages were down from more than 900,000 at the storm's peak.

Entergy Corp. listed most of the outages in Jefferson Parish, with more than 6,000, and in hard-hit Plaquemines Parish, with more than 5,000.

Tar balls and broad mats of tar were reported along several miles of Louisiana beaches on Tuesday. State officials worked to determine whether Isaac had churned up oil from the 2010 BP spill or another source.

Isaac came ashore in Louisiana near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a Category 1 storm, relatively weak compared to other named storms that remain fresh in residents' memories. But its slow movement and heavy surge caused major flooding. Homes in Plaquemines and St. John the Baptist parishes were inundated. Some residents sought help from rooftops. Seven deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi were attributed to the storm, including a Plaquemines Parish couple who drowned in their home.

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