Weakened but still potent, Barry inundated the Gulf Coast but appeared unlikely to deluge New Orleans as it continued its slow advance. Still, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Saturday urged residents across south Louisiana to stay "vigilant," warning that Barry could still cause disastrous flooding across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast overnight. "This storm still has a long way to go before it leaves this state," Edwards said. "Don't let your guard down." New Orleans had braced for heavy rains Saturday, reports the AP, but instead had intermittent bands of showers and occasional sunshine. Though Barry will continue to dump rain throughout the weekend, forecasters downgraded rainfall estimates for the city through Sunday to between 2 to 4 inches. Forecasters had earlier said New Orleans could get up to 20 inches of rain, raising concerns that water pumps strengthened after Hurricane Katrina would be overwhelmed.
National Weather Service forecaster Robert Ricks cautioned, however, that it was too early to say for certain that New Orleans was in the clear. "We're about at the (halfway) mark of the marathon right now," he said Saturday evening. Heavy rainfall would be concentrated overnight in a wide area centered around Lafayette. In other parts of Louisiana, Barry flooded highways, forced people to scramble to rooftops and dumped heavy rain, as it made landfall near Intracoastal City, about 160 miles west of New Orleans. Downpours also lashed coastal Alabama and Mississippi. After briefly becoming a Category 1 hurricane, Barry weakened to a tropical storm. None of the main levees on the Mississippi River failed, and they were expected to hold up. Barry was expected to continue weakening and become a tropical depression Sunday, moving over Arkansas on Sunday night and Monday.
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