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Barry Is Making Things Very Wet in Louisiana

One levee is overtopping and residents are being rescued
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2019 10:55 AM CDT
Updated Jul 13, 2019 3:45 PM CDT
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Collen Schiller and Wesley Vinson wade through storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, La., Saturday, July 13, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
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(Newser) – Barry briefly generated enough wind to become a Category 1 hurricane Saturday as it churned toward the Louisiana coast—but the storm's biggest threat appears to be rain, not wind, USA Today reports. Barry made landfall west of New Orleans just before noon with maximum sustained winds of 75mph, barely enough for a hurricane, then fell to 70mph and tropical storm status. Meanwhile, more than 95,000 southern Louisiana residents have lost power and all planes are grounded at New Orleans' main airport, per the New York Times. Forecasters say Hurricane Barry could drop 10 to 20 inches of rain by tomorrow through Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and southwestern Mississippi, and hit some parts of Louisiana with 25 inches. It will also test flood-prevention moves made after Hurricane Katrina. In the latest developments:

  • Some Louisiana residents took refuge on rooftops as heavy rain poured down and highways went underwater, per the AP. Alabama is getting hit too, with roads flooded in Mobile County and rain contributing to traffic accidents.
  • One of two levees is overtopping on Plaquemines Parish, a strip of land that reaches into the Gulf of Mexico, per CNN. But officials say New Orleans' levees, which are roughly 20 to 25 feet high, should hold.
  • Coast Guard helicopters are removing residents of Isle de Jean Charlus, a remote island roughly 45 miles south of New Orleans. More than 12 people have been rescued there so far.
  • In positive news, forecasters said Friday the Mississippi River will likely crest at roughly 17.1 feet in New Orleans on Monday, about two feet lower than expected.
  • About 3,000 National Guard troops are ready in helicopters, high-water vehicles, and boats around Louisiana.
  • Meanwhile, national media reports (like this headline) may be causing Louisiana residents more anxiety than the actual storm: "So don't panic them, OK?" writes Kevin Allman at the Advocate. "It doesn't make for the sexiest story, but just: chill. That's what we're trying to do."
(Read more Louisiana stories.)

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