According to AP, New Orleans’ mayor is urging city residents not to let their guard down as Tropical Storm Barry weakens and moves farther inland.
Forecasters had worried that flooding rains from the storm would start hitting the city as early as Friday night. But Saturday was largely calm in New Orleans. There were intermittent bands of rain and gusty winds, but no flooding as of Saturday evening.
Still, city officials say a flash flood watch has been extended until Sunday at 7 p.m. Mayor LaToya Cantrell says New Orleans residents “are not out of the woods with this system.”
Barry has caused numerous problems along Louisiana’s coast — including overtopping of levees that protect communities in Plaquemines, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes.
Barry rolled into the Louisiana coast Saturday, flooding highways, forcing people to scramble to rooftops and dumping heavy rain that could test the levees and pumps that were bolstered after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.
After briefly becoming a Category 1 hurricane, the system quickly weakened to the tropical storm as it made landfall near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, about 160 miles west of New Orleans, with its winds falling to 70 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. But officials warned that it could still cause disastrous flooding across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast.
By late afternoon, New Orleans had been spared the storm’s worst effects, receiving only sporadic light showers and gusty winds. But officials warned that Barry could still cause disastrous flooding across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast and drop up to 20 inches (50 cm) of rain through Sunday across a part of Louisiana that includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Stay tuned for up-do-date details as they are being reported.