Storm Barry to hit Louisiana as a hurricane
MORGAN CITY, July 13: Tropical Storm Barry was moving toward the Louisiana coastline on Friday, and nearly 10,000 people have already been ordered to evacuate. President Trump has declared a federal emergency for the state as crews prepare for storm surge that could cause major flooding across New Orleans and surrounding areas.
The National Hurricane Centre said the slow-moving storm is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it comes ashore Saturday. Barry's biggest threat will be rain with 10-20 inches expected to fall in parts of Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, the hurricane centre said.
Some areas could see up to 25 inches of rain, the centre said. Officials in New Orleans said the storm will be a test for the levees protecting the city.
Authorities ramped up evacuations, airlines cancelled flights and flood gates slammed shut as the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) forecast the storm would reach hurricane status before making landfall along the US Gulf Coast.
If the storm becomes a hurricane, it would be the first of the Atlantic season, which runs from June to November. Louisiana is facing an extraordinarily dangerous confluence of conditions, experts say. The level of the Mississippi River, already swollen from historic rains and flooding upstream, was at nearly 17 feet (5.2 meters) in New Orleans -- just below flood stage. -AFP