People make preparation as expected hurricane approaches southern USA coast

Jeannie Matthews
July 14, 2019

The city closest to where Tropical Storm Barry is predicted to make landfall is already seeing power outages. Maximum sustained winds were 70 mph, four mph below the designation, and was moving 6 mph northwest.

The impending storm was widely seen as a key test of the fortified flood defences put in place following Katrina, which inundated much of the city and killed about 1,800 people.

Rain bands are moving onshore in Louisiana as Barry inches northwest at 5 miles per hour, also bringing 70-mph sustained winds, a risky storm surge and possible tornadoes.

The Gulf Coast will also have the potential for severe weather, including damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

"Brent crude oil. extended its gains as storms in the Gulf of Mexico halted production of oil and USA oil inventories continued to recede more than expected", ANZ Bank said in a note.

A storm surge is "the abnormal rise in seawater level during a storm", the National Ocean Service says.

The storm was on a path toward Morgan City, which was surrounded by water.

While 10,000 people or more in exposed, low-lying areas along the Gulf coast were told to leave, no evacuations were ordered in New Orleans, where city officials instead urged residents to "shelter in place" starting at 8 p.m.

"This is going to be a significant weather event, and if you haven't already done so, the time to prepare is NOW", the governor cautioned in a post on Twitter. "No one should take this storm lightly".

Gov. John Bel Edwards said it was the first time all floodgates were sealed in the New Orleans-area Hurricane Risk Reduction System since Katrina.

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Barry could have winds of about 75 miles per hour (120 kph), just barely over the 74 miles per hour threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a Category 1 storm. The line said it will update passengers again Saturday morning. The system developed earlier last week, starting out as a tropical depression, and became a hurricane earlier today.

Every flood gate has been closed along Lake Pontchartrain due to the anticipated flooding. AccuWeather National Reporter Jonathan Petramala captured video of dozens of residents pitching in to fill up sandbags in preparation for Barry.

Forecasters still believe Barry will be a hurricane when its center hits the coast, with steady weakening as it moves inland. There were predictions of 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of rain through Sunday across a swath of Louisiana that includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge with some parts of the state possible getting 25 inches (63 centimeters).

More than 62,000 customers across Louisiana were without power on Saturday, utility providers said.

"It's no Katrina", explained AccuWeather senior meteorologist and lead hurricane forecaster Dan Kottlowski. It's measured by how high the water reaches from the normal astronomical tide.

NEW ORLEANS -As Tropical Storm Barry slogged toward the Gulf Coast on Friday, the mayor of New Orleans, anxious about flooding in some areas, called for residents there to consider evacuating. And three Carnival Cruise Line ship departures scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday are in limbo following the closure of the Port of Mobile in Alabama and New Orleans.

This weekend's Rolling Stones concert has been delayed. Much of Plaquemines Parish had been under an evacuation order since Thursday.

Highway 23 is now open, but the highway may take on water which will likely impact travel between Phillips 66 Refinery to Venice. Waves of extreme rain have battered communities along the Mississippi River and its tributaries since February, from the Dakotas and Minnesota down through Nebraska, Oklahoma, Illinois and Missouri. Residents who did not evacuate may experience limited emergency services.

"They might have created a little bit of disturbance, but nothing came out of it". Almost a fourth of those outages were in coastal Terrebonne Parish. The lopsided, unorganized storm system was getting hit by winds, known as wind shear, that made organizing into a more potent storm hard, noted Rios-Berrios.

The brunt of Barry was expected to skirt the western edge of New Orleans, avoiding a direct hit. Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines have also canceled all Saturday flights to and from the airport.

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