TROPICAL STORM Barry is bearing down on New Orleans and looks set to make landfall as a hurricane, bringing torrential rain and storm surges.
Residents are being urged to not underestimate the danger of Tropical Storm Barry as it nears the coast of Louisiana. Barry is growing in strength as it nears land, moving across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The storm system is expected to make land early Saturday morning local time when it could have reached hurricane status.
The danger from the hurricane is rain, which could impact around 10million residents should flash flooding, swollen rivers and storm surge occur.
Governor John Bel Edwards said Thursday in a news conference: “Look, there are three ways that Louisiana floods: storm surge, high rivers and rain.
“We’re going to have all three.”
Images taken by NASA show the storm tracking toward land, swirling along the Gulf of Mexico.
Read More: Hurricane Barry: ‘Life threatening’ storm to make landfall in hours
According to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam, 10 to 15 inches of rain is on the way, which will hit the already sodden ground following a storm on Wednesday which flooded homes and businesses in New Orleans.
A further risk is the Mississippi River, which usually measures around six to eight feet at this time of year.
Currently, it is at 16 feet following a year of record flooding, and Barry could trigger a storm surge of two to three feet.
Governor Edwards said officials are “confident that there will not be overtopping of the levees in New Orleans”.
Read More: Hurricane Barry latest track: Which areas are under evacuation order?
President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, and officials have brought in 3,000 National Guard members in anticipation of the destruction Barry might cause.
Governor Edwards told CNN: “Heed the warnings” pointing out that fatalities often happen when motorists try to drive through floodwater.
He added: ”It’s deeper than they believe it to be, and also there’s current that sometimes is imperceptible.
“We need individuals to not drive through standing water.”
At the time of writing, Tropical Storm Barry was around 100 miles south-west of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and approximately 115 miles south-southeast of Morgan City Louisiana.
The weather system is moving at a speed of 5mph and packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 65mph.
According to the National Hurricane Centre: “A motion toward the northwest is expected to begin later today, followed by a turn toward the north Saturday night.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Barry will approach the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana through tonight and then make landfall over the central Louisiana coast on Saturday.
“After landfall, Barry is expected to move generally northward through the Mississippi Valley through Sunday.
“Additional strengthening is forecast before landfall, and Barry is expected to be a hurricane when the centre reaches the Louisiana coast.”