Tropical Storm Barry tracks northward; What that means for the Arklatex

New Orleans ahead of Tropical Storm Barry. The National Weather Service in New Orleans says water is already starting

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.

But Mayor LaToya Cantrell said 48 hours of heavy downpours could overwhelm pumps created to purge streets and storm drains of excess water. "So that when a storm moves through an area that has warmer, wetter air, there's more of a source for the precipitation".

Fears that the levee system in New Orleans could be compromised eased after the Army Corps of Engineers voiced confidence that it would hold, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents not to be complacent.

More than 70,000 customers were without power Saturday morning, including almost 67,000 in Louisiana and more than 3,000 in MS, according to poweroutage.us.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said rainbands from the system began to move onshore early Saturday with maximum winds of 105 km/hr. Storms become hurricanes when their winds reach 74 miles per hour (120 kph) or higher.

Barry was expected to continue weakening and become a tropical depression Sunday, moving over Arkansas on Sunday night and Monday. The city is about 120 miles (193 kilometres) west of New Orleans. In addition, trees will come down and some power outages are expected.

The storm may have the biggest impact on oil products, with the Louisiana coast home to almost 40 per cent of U.S. Gulf Coast refining capacity.

As much as 25 inches (64 centimeters) of rain could fall in some areas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 1 p.m.in NY. During a storm update through Facebook Live, Graham pointed to a computer screen showing a huge, swirling mess of airborne water. "So we're just hunkering down", he said. "That is off the chart". Coast Guard rescuers used helicopters to pluck some residents from rooftops and loaded others into boats from flooded homes on Saturday morning, Petty Officer Lexie Preston said. It's also disrupted ship traffic on the Mississippi River, where water levels are rising. He said wind damage was minimal.

He says he has five small children and although he's anxious about possible flooding in the city, he and his family still plan on riding out the storm.

"We could be looking at widespread major flooding across several river basins", said the NHC. The overtopping happened in less populated areas, but officials worry that possible flooding of Highway 23 could trap residents. And about 10,000 people in Plaquemines Parish on Louisiana's low-lying southeastern tip were ordered evacuated on Thursday. The storm has since weakened, but continues to produce heavy rainfall as it makes slow progress to the north. There were predictions of 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimetres) of rain through Sunday across a swath of Louisiana that includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge, with some parts of the state possibly getting 25 inches (63 centimetres).

The Mississippi River laps at the stairs on a protective levee in New Orleans as tropical storm Barry approaches on July 11, 2019.

Breitbart News reported that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, warning state residents not to take the storm lightly.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit an area west of New Orleans, and affect the wider region. The levees protect up to only one foot higher. But in the city, locals and tourists wandered through mostly empty streets under a light rain or stayed indoors.

Although the outlook for New Orleans had improved significantly, weather service forecaster Robert Ricks said it was too early to declare that the city was in the clear.

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