Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee were falling in southern Louisiana and showering the Gulf Coast on Saturday as the storm’s center trudged slowly towards land, where business was already begun to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend.
The storm could bring up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain to some areas. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Mississippi to Texas, and flash flood warnings extended along the Alabama coast into the Florida Panhandle. The storm’s slow forward movement means that its rain clouds should have more time to disgorge themselves on any cities in their path.
The storm’s biggest impact, so far, has been in the Gulf of Mexico oil fields. About half the Gulf’s normal daily oil production has been cut as rigs were evacuated, though oil prices were down sharply Friday on sour economic news.