Business, Finance & Economics

Tropical cyclone Lee weakens but leaves Gulf Coast on alert (VIDEO)

Tropical Storm Lee pounded Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday, causing flooding and oil rig evacuations, and knocking out power to thousands.

Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal had declared a state of emergency, urging residents to "prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

And Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency in several counties, urging residents to be prepared.

(GlobalPost reports: Tropical storm Lee heading to Louisiana)

But Lee stalled off the Gulf Coast for several hours late Saturday, with maximum sustained winds dropping to 50 mph as night fell.  

As of 7 p.m. Saturday, tropical storm warnings stretched from Sabine Pass, Texas to Destin, Fla., according to news agencies.

"Lee has been drifting toward the north-northwest during the past few hours," the 7 p.m. a National Hurricane center reportedly said. "However, a slow northward motion is expected to resume tonight."

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at a Saturday afternoon news conference warned that: "We're not out of the woods."

"Don't go to sleep on this storm.... The intensity of it is still there, and the wind and the water can still cause great damage."

According to the LA Times:

New Orleans, which was inundated in 2005 by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, remained on alert Saturday, closing floodgates along its upgraded levee system and keeping swift-water rescue crews at the ready. But none had been called into action yet. Landrieu said only a few homes had been affected by water from rain that pooled in city streets. About 14,000 homes in the metro area were without power, however.