Barry becomes a tropical depression, Louisiana sees hefty rains

Elias Hubbard
July 15, 2019

Hurricane Barry reached its peak hurricane strength as it neared the U.S. state of Louisiana.

The system is crawling north-west at a speed of just 8mph, dumping heavy rainfall as it tracks inland.

Still, the storm's first wave had not inundated New Orleans as feared, with the city experiencing moderate rain Saturday.

Others hunkered down to ride out the squall, despite mandatory evacuation orders and the risk of risky storm surges.

More than 100,000 households in Louisiana are already without power, according to tracking tool poweroutage.us.

Temperatures could hit 88 degrees in Boston on Sunday, with a slight chance of rain showers late in the afternoon, the National Weather Service said. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday parts of south-central Louisiana could still have rainfall totals of up to 12 inches, with isolated pockets of 15 inches.

'Our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding, ' AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Audrey Ulfers stands on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain during Hurricane Barry in Mandeville, La., July 13, 2019.

A second area of extremely heavy rain is focused over south central MS near Hattiesburg, also under a flash flood warning.

No levees along the Mississippi River failed or were breached, but two levees were overtopped in Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes.

Officials have told residents there to immediately evacuate, if it is safe to do so, or risk being cut off for several days. There have been several tornado warnings issued so far today in Louisiana, and the Storm Prediction Center has a marginal risk of severe weather in place there.

"It is noteworthy that we're in our 260th day of a flood fight on the Mississippi River, the longest in history, and that this is the first time in history a hurricane will strike Louisiana while the Mississippi River has been at flood stage", said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in response to a question about climate change at a Friday news conference.

Edwards said the state and levees in New Orleans were ready for impact and should withstand the floodwaters. Some of these storms could produce some very heavy rainfall, which could lead to flash flooding in areas.

Most of the city's flood defences, improved after more than 1,800 died in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, are built between 20-25ft (6-7.6m) high. But forecasts showed the storm on a path toward Chicago that would swell the Mississippi River basin.

City officials have advised residents to shelter in their homes, with the exception of two coastal parishes south of the city, where mandatory evacuations were ordered.

The city's emergency preparedness campaign has urged residents to remain vigilant and stay patient.

FEW STORM CHANCES AHEAD: Most of next week should feature dry weather, but there are some storm chances.

Forecasters warned of a continued threat of storm surge and heavy rains as the center of the storm trudged inland and rain bands along its back half moved onshore.

The warming world is also making these storms more sluggish. After a brief stint as a Category 1 hurricane, the storm downsized to a tropical storm.

People should not focus on Barry's wind speed, but instead be wary of the rain it will unleash across the region, AccuWeather forecasters cautioned.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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