New Orleans Braces as Storm Barry Nears

Carla Harmon
July 13, 2019

It is forecast to reach Category-1 hurricane strength by then, with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kph), the National Weather Service said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott warned a news conference: "Tropical Storm Barry is a unsafe and life-threatening storm".

"I worry an bad lot about the rain as it falls, not as it relates to the Mississippi River but all the other rivers that we have across south Louisiana", Edwards said. "The only forecast for overtopping was down in lower Plaquemines Parish". He said authorities do not expect the river to spill over its levees, but cautioned that a change in the storm's direction or intensity could alter that.

Forecasters said slow-moving Barry could unload 25 to 50 centimetres of rain through Sunday across a swath of Louisiana that includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as southwestern MS, with pockets in Louisiana getting 63cm.

Barry is expected to cross the coastline southwest of New Orleans on Saturday morning.

The Mississippi River is already running abnormally high because of heavy spring rains and snowmelt upstream, and the ground around New Orleans is soggy because of an 8-inch drenching on Wednesday.

"The water over land actually helps the storm", Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded office, said about the double-whammy.

"Tropical Storm Barry is a risky and life-threatening storm", Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott said at a news conference.

"As Barry moves further away this weekend, our winds will veer onshore, which will allow rain chances to drop to 20 to 30%, with highs in the low 90s", Campos said. "So right now, New Orleans is looking at a significant rise in water".

The Mississippi is expected to crest Saturday at about 5.8m in New Orleans, where the levees protecting the city range from about 6m to 7.5m in height.

National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said pockets of Louisiana could have as much as 25 inches (63 centimeters) of rain.

President Donald Trump on Thursday night declared a federal declaration of emergency for Louisiana, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

In New Orleans, where 50 levees failed in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, Mayor LaToya Cantrel is warning residents that water is going to be their biggest threat. Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, Louisiana, including metropolitan New Orleans.

"I really don't think it's going to be too bad", she told CNN. Throughout the city, motorists left cars parked on the raised median strips of roadways hoping the extra elevation would protect them from flood damage.

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