Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Science | By

Tropical Storm Barry hits Louisiana, could stay for a long, soaking time

Tropical Storm Barry hits Louisiana, could stay for a long, soaking time

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

A view of downtown New Orleans pictured with the Mississippi River as Tropical Storm Barry approaches land in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. July 11, 2019.

The lower MS has already been running at flood stage for months after the so-called "bomb cyclone" and other storms starting in March that dumped huge volumes of rain on Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri - which flowed down the MS and could further feed moisture to Barry, scientists said.

About 3,000 National Guard troops, along with other rescue crews, were posted around Louisiana with boats, high-water vehicles and helicopters.

Barry's sustained winds Friday were 65 mph, per Accuweather; when its winds hold at 75 mph or more, the storm will be classified as a hurricane.

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

Louisiana's low-lying southeastern tip was getting hit first.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for areas of Plaquemines Parish beyond the levees southeast of the city and for low-lying communities in Jefferson Parish, to the southwest. But he said that he wouldn't want to live anywhere else, despite the yearly threat of hurricanes.

"We lost everything, and we started from scratch", Brock, an Air Force veteran, recalled. "I've been all over the world and guess where I want to be at?" He said around 20 relatives were staying with him and his wife because their house is safer.

The pumps are working at optimal capacity, but Cantrell said the pumps might not be able to handle the water levels if heavy rainfall hits.

New Orleans was already saturated after thunderstorms drenched the city with a foot of rain on Wednesday. Nearby, the sign outside a convenience store read: "Barry needs a beer and a nap". Forecasters predict at least 10-15 inches of rain, which could cause major flooding.

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the levees, insisted that no significant breaching of the 20-foot-tall levees in New Orleans was likely.

Development in the New Orleans region, a major oil hub, has made the area more vulnerable to storms, with the removal of wetlands which help protect coasts.

Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall sometime between late Friday night into Saturday afternoon.

The storm's leading edges lashed the state with bands of rain for most of the day, and some coastal roads were already under water Friday morning.

Scientists say global warming is responsible for more intense and more frequent storms and floods, but without extensive study they can not directly link a single weather event to the changing climate.

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