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Barry Becomes a Hurricane, Barrels Toward Louisiana Coast

14 July 2019

After briefly becoming a Category 1 hurricane, the system weakened to a tropical storm as it made landfall near Intracoastal City, about 257km west of New Orleans, with its winds falling to 112km, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is now spinning with 70mph winds and is projected to tip out as much as 10 to 20 inches of rain over Louisiana. Maximum sustained winds were 70 mph, four mph below the designation, and was moving 6 mph northwest.

Almost all businesses in Morgan City, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) west of New Orleans, were shuttered with the exception of Meche's Donuts Shop.

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.

Despite the calm, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell cautioned that the storm continued to pose a threat.

"Texans remember how the state of Louisiana came to our aid during Hurricane Harvey and now we are in turn lending our support as Louisianans face Tropical Storm Barry", Abbott said in a written statement Friday. The weather service said some gusts could reach up to 35 miles per hour this morning and through the afternoon, and a wind advisory is in effect along the coast.

In Morgan City, the streets were deserted.

New Orleans was already saturated after thunderstorms drenched the city with a foot of rain on Wednesday.

"This is just the beginning", said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. "No one should take this storm lightly".

While street flooding seemed probable, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers insisted that significant breaching of the 20-foot-tall levees in New Orleans was unlikely.

Because of the high winds, there's a chance of tornadoes spinning off Barry.

"The lack of rainfall across Louisiana early Saturday morning should not fool residents into thinking that it's safe to venture out".

Residents in Louisiana and its largest city, New Orleans, hunkered down in preparation for rising waters brought by Barry.

In some places, residents continued to build defenses.

Every flood gate has been closed along Lake Pontchartrain due to the anticipated flooding. Tropical-storm-force winds are reaching as far as 175 miles east of Barry's center, according to the NHC's advisory.

Storm surges of up to six feet are projected, and 10 to 20 inches of rain are forecast.

The city of Houston is also gathering donations to be sent to those impacted by Barry. Cleco Corp., which supplies power to about 288,000 retail customers in the state, said it's monitoring Barry and has crews on standby to respond to outages. ".I'm just praying that everything will be all right".

Risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. Due to the Hurricane Emergency Center declaring that the storm was "strengthening" and that "water is going to be a big issue", the governors of Louisiana and MS have declared a state of emergency.

Weakening is forecast after Barry hits landfall.

Here, the gate of the US Customs House in New Orleans is seen sandbagged in the hope of stemming the surge.

Additional reporting by AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer and National News Reporter Jonathan Petramala.

News footage showed localized flooding, swollen waterways, and downed power lines and trees across south Louisiana as rivers overtopped their levees in several locations, including part of coastal Terrebonne Parish where authorities had issued a mandatory evacuation notice.

Highway 23 is now open, but the highway may take on water which will likely impact travel between Phillips 66 Refinery to Venice. After recent torrential rains in the area and runoff from the spring floods in the Midwest, the levees holding the Mississippi River in Louisiana might not be tall enough to keep the river from overflowing. Residents who did not evacuate may experience limited emergency services.

Barry Becomes a Hurricane, Barrels Toward Louisiana Coast