Local News

Danny Churning Toward Mississippi and Alabama...

Posted July 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— An erratic hurricane born in the marshes of south Louisiana early today churned slowly toward the Gulf Coast, threatening to bring high winds and heavy downpours to Mississippi and Alabama.

Hurricane Danny, traveling northeast at about 6 mph, sloshed through the sparsely populated Louisiana marshlands and moved back into the Gulf of Mexico early this morning. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 75 mph with higher gusts.

No injuries and no major property damage were reported early this morning.

Around 4:30 a.m. CDT, Danny was near the resort island of Grand Isle and headed toward Mississippi. Danny could make landfall again anywhere 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 Martin Nelson, 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 to the Gulf Coast.

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

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

Storm surges of 4 to 5 feet above normal tides were forecast and the weather service also warned of isolated tornadoes along Danny's path.

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

After forming Wednesday morning in the north central Gulf and then stalling Wednesday night, Danny built into a tropical storm Thursday morning. It drifted northeast, then came to a virtual standstill about 110 miles southwest of New Orleans.

By Thursday night, Danny was on the move again, this time toward the northeast. It was upgraded to a hurricane early Friday morning as 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 was downgraded just 13 hours later while standing 290 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.