Barry’s slow march toward Arkansas leads to fears of flooding, tornadoes – USA TODAY
The U.S. Coast Guard said that a crew from Air Station New Orleans evacuated a number of people from flooded areas in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
Barry moved agonizingly slowly across Louisiana, expected to arrive Monday in Arkansas, producing thunderstorms and torrents of rain that may cause widespread flooding.
Reclassified from a tropical storm to a tropical depression late Sunday afternoon, Barry’s maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph, and it was expected to weaken further as it moved north at a leisurely 9 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
After making landfall Saturday, Barry moved toward Shreveport on Sunday. The hurricane center warned of flooding from Louisiana northward through the lower Mississippi Valley.
Three inches of rain fell in the predawn hours Sunday in Jackson, Mississippi, leading to concerns about rising water levels in the state’s capital city. With more rain pounding already devastated agricultural areas, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant called on the federal government to install pumps.
“The Mississippi River has been at flood stage for 150 days,” Bryant said at a press conference. “This is a historical, disastrous flood and this is just making it worse.”
Barry was expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over south-central Louisiana. In some places, rainfall could total 20 inches, the hurricane center said.
The heavy rainfall could cause trees to topple.
“The roots are so saturated that if any wind, or any kind of shift happens, they’re easier to come up out of the ground. It’s not snapping limbs – it’s the whole entire tree,” said Carrie Cuchens, who lost power at her home southeast of Lafayette, Louisiana.
In Morgan City, Louisiana, Lois and Steve Bergeron said the storm stirred up a lot of havoc in the yard, but “at least it didn’t hit our house,” Lois said.
The hurricane center said tornadoes were possible across portions of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, western Alabama, eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee.
A police chief captured footage of flooding along a road in Golden Meadows, Louisiana as the Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Barry.
Where is Barry now? Interactive storm tracker
About 130,000 Louisiana customers were without power at one point, before outages fell to about 88,000 late Sunday afternoon.
The good news: New Orleans’ levees held. The lower Mississippi River was opened to shipping Sunday morning, the Port of New Orleans said. Cruise ship arrivals and departures were expected to stay on schedule.
Barry made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane – the first hurricane of the season – near Intracoastal City, Louisiana, about 150 miles west of New Orleans. The storm entered the coast with sustained winds of up to 75 mph.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned people to not “let their guard down,” despite Barry’s weakened state.
“My concern is people are going to bed thinking the worst is behind us, and that may not be the case,” he said at a news conference Saturday night. “It’s going to be a long few days, and there are going to be some significant challenges.”
Contributing: Lici Beveridge, Hattiesburg (Miss.) American; Greg Hilburn, The (Monroe, La.) News-Star; The Associated Press