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Danny Churning Toward Mississippi and Alabama...

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An erratic hurricane born in the marshes ofsouth Louisiana early today churned slowly toward the Gulf Coast,threatening to bring high winds and heavy downpours to Mississippiand Alabama.

Hurricane Danny, traveling northeast at about 6 mph, sloshedthrough the sparsely populated Louisiana marshlands and moved backinto the Gulf of Mexico early this morning. Maximum sustained windswere clocked at 75 mph with higher gusts.

No injuries and no major property damage were reported earlythis morning.

Around 4:30 a.m. CDT, Danny was near the resort island of GrandIsle and headed toward Mississippi. Danny could make landfall againanywhere from Gulfport, Miss., to the Florida Panhandle,forecasters said.

``Our track takes it somewhere between Gulfport and Mobile,Ala., in 22 hours, but that could change slightly,'' said MartinNelson, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

A hurricane warning was posted from Morgan City, La., to Destin,Fla. Forecasters said Danny could bring 10 to 20 inches of rain tothe Gulf Coast.

``Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles mainly tothe east of the center and tropical storm force winds extendoutward up to 115 miles east of the center,'' the National WeatherService said. ``Since Danny is moving very slowly, rainfall isexpected to be a problem.''

Reconnaissance flights recorded winds of up to 92 mph to thenortheast of Danny's center.

Storm surges of 4 to 5 feet above normal tides were forecast andthe weather service also warned of isolated tornadoes along Danny'spath.

Gov. Mike Foster declared a state of emergency in Grand Isle andlower Lafourche Parish. About 1,500 residents of Grand Isle wereordered to evacuate, as were residents of a half-dozen communitiesin Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

After forming Wednesday morning in the north central Gulf andthen stalling Wednesday night, Danny built into a tropical stormThursday morning. It drifted northeast, then came to a virtualstandstill about 110 miles southwest of New Orleans.

By Thursday night, Danny was on the move again, this time towardthe northeast. It was upgraded to a hurricane early Friday morningas it moved over southern Louisiana.

Danny became the second hurricane of the season. The first,Bill, was born July 12 in the north Atlantic Ocean, but wasdowngraded just 13 hours later while standing 290 miles south ofCape Race, Newfoundland.

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.


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