President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana after residents boarded up their businesses and at least 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate from parts of the Gulf Coast.
The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency will now coordinate disaster relief efforts ahead of the strengthening Tropical Storm Barry.
Forecasters said it could make landfall as a hurricane late on Friday or early Saturday, with more heavy flooding expected after Storm Barry flooded parts of New Orleans yesterday.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, noted that in the past 24 hours, 28 parishes had issued emergency declarations and 14 were in the process of doing so,
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said pockets of Louisiana could have as much as 25 inches (63 centimeters) of rain.
‘So here’s the takeaway: Dangerous situation,’ he said during an online presentation yesterday. ‘That kind of rainfall in this system could cause flash flooding, cause ponding of water.’
National Guard troops and rescue crews have been stationed around the state with boats and high-water vehicles while helicopters were also on standby, and supplies including drinking water and blankets were ready for distribution, the Guard said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned that the storm’s blow could form a dangerous combination with the already-high Mississippi River, which has been swelled by heavy rain and snowmelt upriver this spring.
He said: ‘There are three ways that Louisiana can flood: storm surge, high rivers and rain. We’re going to have all three.’
He said authorities do not expect the Mississippi River to spill over its levees but cautioned that a change in the storm’s direction or intensity could alter that.
Barry could have winds of about 75 mph (120 kph), just barely over the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a Category 1 storm, forecasters said.