Tropical Storm Barry slowly churned toward the Louisiana coast on Friday, threatening to drop as much as 25 inches of rain in some areas. The National Weather Center said tropical storm conditions could start as early as Friday morning, with the storm expected to make landfall Friday night or Saturday morning.
As of 10 p.m. CT, Barry was located about 85 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and about 165 miles southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana. The storm is moving west at 3 mph.
Maximum sustained winds were recorded at 50 mph with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected and Barry could become a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday.
Barry’s biggest threat will be rain, with 10-20 inches of rain expected to fall in southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. Some areas could see up to 25 inches of rain, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane warning in effect for parts of Louisiana
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for Intracoastal City to Grand Isle in Louisiana, meaning hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within the next 36 hours.
Hurricane conditions are possible from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle and from Intracoastal City to Cameron, Louisiana.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for:
Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle
Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan NewOrleans
Intracoastal City to Cameron
Tropical storm conditions are possible from east of the mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
Dangerous storm surge could also occur. A warning of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland has been issued from Intracoastal City to Shell Beach, Louisiana.
In the following areas, dangerous storm surge is possible:
Shell Beach to the Mississippi-Alabama border
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
New Orleans residents brace for flooding
A state of emergency has been declared and the National Guard activated in Louisiana. The storm system improvements were made after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and are about to be put to the test.
In low-lying areas south of New Orleans, some residents heeded the warnings: Stock up, pack up, and in some parishes and evacuate. The preparations also include closing massive flood gates and tying shrimping boats down.
In New Orleans, storms that unleashed flash-flooding Wednesday were a fresh reminder of what a deluge can do. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said drainage pumps are working but said, “We cannot pump our way out of the water levels and the waterfalls that are expected to hit.”
All eyes are on the levees that protect the city. The forecasted crest was revised down to 19 feet and the Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it does not expect any overtopping.