Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Tropical Storm Barry Creeps Closer As Gulf Coast Prepares To Be Drenched

Tropical Storm Barry Creeps Closer As Gulf Coast Prepares To Be Drenched

Officials have urged residents in Louisiana and MS to prepare for a long weekend of potentially catastrophic weather as Tropical Storm Barry, the first major storm of the season, takes aim at low-lying regions in the South.

In Houma, there were sustained winds of 33 miles per hour and gusts of nearly 50 miles per hour. But he said that he wouldn't want to live anywhere else, despite the yearly threat of hurricanes.

Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. A storm Wednesday already flooded parts of New Orleans.

Cantrell stressed that residents need a plan for the approaching storm, whether that is to shelter in place or to evacuate the city. "The real danger in this storm was never about the wind anyway". Earlier that day, Gov. John Bel Edwards had requested the declaration, writing that he was "confident that there will be widespread, heavy rainfall and coastal flooding". Usually at 6 to 8 feet this time of year around the Big Easy, the river is at 16 feet after a year of record flooding, and Barry could push in a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet.

Officials urged residents to be prepared for the worst during Thursday's press conference.

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

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, and the region's oil production was cut in half as energy companies evacuated offshore drilling facilities.

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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New Orleans' pump system can only move so much water out of the city at one time.

The storm is hardly the most monstrous to hit The Crescent City, but it's the first to hit with the MS running this high. The rain totals will likely increase over the weekend.

New Orleans' network of stormwater drainage pumps, underground pipes and canals were overwhelmed earlier this week by rain. "It is critical that you monitor updates and heed the advice of local authorities".

Hurricane warnings are in place for the Louisiana coast, with tropical storm and surge warnings in place east along the MS coast.

South Louisiana has endured large hurricanes over the last 15 years, including twice in 2005 when the western side of Hurricane Katrina hit the southeastern part of the state and Hurricane Rita hit the southwestern part of the state.

The river was expected to crest at about 19 feet on Saturday in New Orleans, where the levees protecting it from the water range from about 20 to 25 feet in height, said Jeff Graschel, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. This could be a major test for the levee system.

AccuWeather's estimate is said to be based "on an analysis of damages expected from flooding caused by very heavy rainfall over several states and storm surge".

Meanwhile, utility crews with bucket trucks that could be needed after the storm filled hotel parking lots along Interstate 59 in southern Mississippi.

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