NEW ORLEANS – High tides and steady rain breached a levee and flooded streets and homes in southeast Louisiana as a weakening Tropical Storm Matthew (search) blew in from the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Weather Service (search) extended a coastal flood warning into Monday, cautioning winds would push tide levels at least 2 to 4 feet above normal.
Thousands of residents were without water after a tidal surge broke a water main in one low-lying community, and oyster harvesting was shut down between the Louisiana-Mississippi line and the Atchafalaya River.
"This is a precautionary closure," said Frederick P. Cerise of the state Health and Hospitals Department. "We will continue this closure order until we are confident that the waters are clear."
In other low-lying communities like Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point floodwaters topping levees were kept in check with sandbags and pumps.
A water main break in LaPlace prompted St. John the Baptist Parish school officials to close several schools. Water service was expected to resume Monday, but residents were directed to boil all drinking water even after service is restored.
Up to 12 inches of rain flooded streets and homes in southeastern Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service. No injuries were reported.
A canal levee was breached in Terrebonne Parish (search), causing flooding in about a dozen homes, said Mart Black, spokesman for the parish's emergency operations center.
Officials patrolled flooded streets and blocked motorists from driving into lower St. Bernard Parish southeast of New Orleans, where up to 2 feet of water filled the roads, said Larry J. Ingargiola, parish emergency chief.
New Orleans received about 3 inches of rain Saturday and Sunday and saw scattered power outages.
Another storm system, Nicole, the 14th named storm for the 2004 hurricane season, appeared to cause little damage in Bermuda as it moved toward New England and Canada's Maritime provinces, forecasters said early Monday.
Nicole did not meet the strict definition of a tropical storm but was classified a subtropical system with outlying bands of 45 mph maximum sustained wind. Nicole, however, seemed likely to merge with another Atlantic weather system.
At 5 a.m. EDT Monday, Nicole's center was about 190 miles north-northeast of Bermuda, moving toward the east-northeast at 18 mph, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. It had top sustained winds of about 45 mph, but could strengthen over the next day before weakening.
The coasts of Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia may feel the storm's outer effects by Wednesday.
The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.