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Isaac Gains Strengths as it Nears Gulf Coast

Hurricane Isaac has gotten a little stronger as it closes in on the Gulf Coast.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hurricane Isaac has gotten a little stronger as it closes in on the Gulf Coast.

Isaac's maximum sustained winds increased Tuesday afternoon to 80 mph.

The storm is expected to make landfall late Tuesday on the eve of the seventh anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina devastated the region.

While not as powerful as Katrina, Isaac threatens to flood the coasts of four states with storm surge and heavy rains on its way to New Orleans, where residents have been hunkering down behind levees fortified after Katrina struck.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and other officials are warning residents not to get complacent about the slow approach of Hurricane Isaac.

They say rain dumped by the slow-moving system could cause significant flooding even hundreds of miles inland in coming days, especially on the state's western side.

Speaking Tuesday at a Mississippi Air National Guard base in Gulfport, they urged residents of the three coastal counties to leave for shelters before dark Tuesday, saying residents are out of time to evacuate.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham says as many as 175,000 residents of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties face evacuation orders.

Water was creeping up on beachside U.S. 90 in Biloxi, and storm surge was pushing out of bayous and bays in other neighborhoods, flooding streets.

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