Tropical Storm Barry is expected to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast starting Friday morning. The storm – which is expected to be at hurricane strength when it makes landfall – is predicted to bring as much as 2 feet of rain to parts of Louisiana, threatening to flood areas in and around New Orleans.
According to the Associated Press, the heavy rains and winds are already hitting Louisiana, despite the fact that the storm – which is moving west-northwest at only 5 mph – will not hit land until early Saturday. Rain is expected to continue to fall through Sunday in Louisiana and in parts of Mississippi.
"There are three ways that Louisiana can flood: storm surge, high rivers and rain," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards told ABC News.
"We're going to have all three,” he added.
According to the AP, the storm is expected to produce flooding and storm surges. The outlet reports that some coastal roads are already flooded from the rise of the tide caused by the storm. Officials are also monitoring the Mississippi River since it is already running abnormally high due to snowmelt upstream and heavy spring rain – including a down pour earlier this week that dropped 8 inches of rain in the area. Reportedly, the Mississippi is expected to crest on Saturday at 19 feet in New Orleans. The levees in that area are built to protect the city from 20 to 25 feet in height, the AP reports.
So far, the slow-moving system is producing sustained winds of 65 mph. If the storm produces sustained winds of 74 mph or more, the tropical storm will be considered a hurricane.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for several coastal areas across Louisiana including Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Plaquemines Parish.
As reported by ABC News, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service called tropical storm Barry a “dangerous and life-threatening storm.”
Late Thursday, President Trump issued an emergency declaration for Louisiana. The President also took to Twitter to urged people to be safe. He wrote, “To everyone on the Gulf Coast: As you make preparations to protect your homes & loved ones from flooding & the coming storm, it is imperative that you heed the directions of @FEMA, State & Local Officials. We are working closely w/ them. Please be prepared, be careful, & be SAFE!”
To everyone on the Gulf Coast: As you make preparations to protect your homes & loved ones from flooding & the coming storm, it is imperative that you heed the directions of @FEMA, State & Local Officials. We are working closely w/ them. Please be prepared, be careful, & be SAFE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019
According to AccuWeather, the latest models are showing Barry push north toward the Mississippi Valley before heading toward the Ohio Valley mid-week, next week. As the storm moves further inland, the amount of rainfall is expected to decrease, though the risk of flooding will not dissipate.
Photo courtesy: NASA/Unsplash, this is a stock photo.