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|Parish prepares for Isaac|
Concordia Parish residents are bracing for heavy rains and possible high winds after Hurricane Issac landed at the mouth of the Mississippi River Tuesday.
The storm that has defied path predictions by the National Weather Service since the weekend continued to move on a west/northwest course early today (Wednesday) at a snail's pace, dumping around a foot of rain in New Orleans through the morning with winds of 80 miles per hour.
Isaac was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm during the day.
Locally, scores of combines pushed through fields of corn, milo and soybeans ahead of the storm as farmers scrambled to bring in mature crops in what has been predicted to be a harvest of record yields and record prices.
At press time, the National Weather Service's latest projection indicated Isaac would move through central Louisiana in the hours ahead although the the storm's projected path has continually been adjusted to the west by small degrees.
In Concordia and through the region, officials have prepared for the worst -- heavy rains and high winds.
Parish farmers have been working into the night for the last few days trying to harvest their crops ahead of the storm, according to Seab Brown of the LSU AgCenter. Brown is working in Concordia Parish until a new county agent is appointed.
"There's a lot of guys scrambling right now to get everything they can out of the ground," Brown said Tuesday. "Some have been cutting grain until midnight and then starting again in the morning. Many are starting once the dew dries and harvesting until the dew returns."
He said about 75 percent of the corn, 30 to 35 percent of the soybeans and less than 10 percent of the cotton have been harvested.
"The corn is the most resilient," he said. "Even with a lot of rain, the corn can eventually be harvested assuming the stalk is still standing."
Soybeans, he said, "are a different story. Depending on wind and the bean stage, rainfall greater than an inch can shatter the beans, knocking them out of the pods. Those remaining may rot."
Brown said that if the cotton bolls are open "the high wind and rain will wash all the lint out of the bolls and lean the cotton over," making harvest impossible in most cases.
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