Louisiana has declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Barry was already causing flooding today ahead of its expected Saturday morning landfall.
A hurricane warning was in effect this morning for Intracoastal City to Grand Isle. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans, and Intracoastal City to Cameron. Offshore drilling rigs have been evacuated.
The Louisiana National Guard, as directed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, has been authorized to activate up to 3,000 soldiers and airmen with helicopters, high-water vehicles and boats staged in over 20 communities across the state in possible affected areas.
“The Louisiana National Guard is taking a proactive and aggressive approach in dealing with the preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Barry,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. “This will allow our guardsmen to be more successful in their priority missions immediately following the storm – search and rescue operations and commodities distribution.”
Large quantities of drinking water, blankets and sandbags have been moved, delivered or positioned by the LANG to areas for distribution following the storm.
Edwards spoke with Acting FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor to discuss Louisiana’s unprecedented flood fight now in its 258th day, rising level of the Mississippi River, potential for strong storm surge, inundation and large scale statewide impact.
“This will be a statewide weather event that everyone should take seriously, which is why I have requested federal assistance ahead of landfall in addition to signing the statewide emergency declaration,” said Edwards. “Now is the time for everyone to heed the warnings from their local authorities and get a game plan for their families, pets and businesses. We want everyone to take every precaution necessary to stay safe. We have established ongoing communication and coordination with our local and federal partners and will be ready to respond as needed.”
The National Hurricane Center said this morning that Barry’s “track toward the northwest is expected to begin later today, followed by a turn toward the north on Saturday.”
“On the forecast track, the center of Barry will be near or over the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana tonight or Saturday, and then move inland over the Lower Mississippi Valley on Sunday,” the NHC said. “Reports from NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is expected during the next day or so, and Barry could become a hurricane tonight or early Saturday when the center is near the Louisiana coast. Weakening is expected after Barry moves inland.”
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline… Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi,
with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. These rains are expected to lead to dangerous, life threatening flooding over portions of the central Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley. Over the remainder of the Lower Mississippi Valley, total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are expected, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.”