Barry is a triple threat of storm surge, high rivers and flooding as it gets closer to the Louisiana coast

Louisiana authorities are urging residents not to underestimate the danger and destruction Tropical Storm Barry threatens as it nears the coast Friday....

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 8:10 AM
Updated: Jul 12, 2019 12:00 PM

Louisiana authorities are urging residents not to underestimate the danger and destruction Tropical Storm Barry threatens as it nears the coast Friday.

'Look, there are three ways that Louisiana floods: storm surge, high rivers and rain. We're going to have all three,' Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday in a news conference.

Barry is getting stronger as it creeps across the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters en route to a landfall expected early Saturday in Louisiana.

While it could reach hurricane strength, the real peril it poses to roughly 10 million people in its path is rain, which could quickly trigger unprecedented flooding.

Ten to 15 more inches of rain are on the way, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said, threatening to inundate ground already soaked from a Wednesday storm that flooded some New Orleans homes and businesses.

Another risk looms in the Mississippi River. 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 are 'confident that there will not be overtopping of the levees in New Orleans,' Edwards told CNN Friday. Still, the unusual confluence of factors is rattling nerves along the 'sliver by the river,' a swath of relatively high ground along the Mississippi that's less likely to flood in typical rain and hurricane storm surge events than other areas.

At 11 a.m. ET Friday, Barry was 100 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 115 miles southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. The storm, crawling along at 5 mph, is expected to be a hurricane by the time it reaches shore, the National Hurricane Center said.

About 800,000 people are under a hurricane warning along the Louisiana coast from south of Lafayette to south of New Orleans.

Barry is the first storm of the 2019 season to approach the United States.

Track the storm

Stocking up or moving out

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, where officials activated 3,000 National Guard members in anticipation of the destruction Barry might bring, the governor said.

'Heed the warnings,' he told CNN's John Berman on Friday morning, pointing out that fatalities often happen when motorists try to drive through floodwater.

'It's deeper than they believe it to be, and also there's current that sometimes is imperceptible,' Edwards said. 'We need individuals to not drive through standing water.'

While some in low-lying places have been directed to evacuate, officials haven't ordered mandatory evacuations in the most populated areas.

Many residents aren't eager to endure the expense and effort of leaving, compared with what could be a few uncomfortable hours or days without power. Many also want to stay home so they can bail water if it rises, then dry out floors and drywall as soon as it recedes.

Pamela Hughes will ride out the storm in her mother's trailer in Port Sulphur, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, she said.

'I really don't think it's going to be too bad,' she told CNN.

Others, including Kristopher Williams, are staying behind to protect their pets and their belongings.

'Everything I own is in it,' he said of his truck. 'I'm not an ignorant person. I know the dangers. I also know how to get out of just about any bind I encounter.'

As others head to higher ground, Chef José Andrés' nonprofit World Central Kitchen announced Thursday it would set up kitchens in Lafayette and New Orleans ahead of the storm.

'Katrina left a lot of trauma behind'

Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, of New Orleans' Broadmoor neighborhood, had a planned trip to New York, with a flight out Friday evening. She still plans to go but stocked up on canned food and water in case her 'hurrication' falls through and she has to ride out the storm, she said.

For now, her main concern is for her friends and neighbors who lived through Hurricane Katrina, the deadly 2005 storm that still looms large in the minds of many residents, she told CNN.

'This storm is stressing them out,' she said. 'Trauma stays in your body, and Katrina left a lot of trauma behind.'

Gulliver-Garcia worries about people with limited options and without the means to evacuate, she said, adding that she knows people across the country who would take her in at a moment's notice.

'Many people in this community don't have that luxury,' she said.

Overwhelmed pumps and pipes

New Orleans' network of drainage pumps, underground pipes and canals were overwhelmed earlier this week by rain. And though water piled up briefly on some streets, the storm was a good test of the drainage system, Edwards said.

'It performed well,' he said, adding, 'you never know exactly what Mother Nature's going to throw at you. ... But I'm confident that New Orleans is going to weather this storm (Barry) in pretty good fashion.'

Flooding concerns are not limited to Louisiana. Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle are also at risk for extreme rain, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said Thursday.

Mobile, Alabama, can expect heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding, as well as a high risk of rip currents and a surf up to 8 feet, the National Weather Service tweeted early Friday.

The Florida Panhandle has seen double red flags go up in some areas, closing beaches, the weather service said.

The Mississippi Delta Region is also at risk for tornadoes beginning Friday evening.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
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Tupelo
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Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
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Columbus
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Oxford
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This will bring back into our area some more chances for some rain and thunderstorms.
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