Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana on Saturday and weakened to a tropical storm. The storm, previously a Category 1 hurricane, brought heavy rainfall and flooding to the Gulf Coast and knocked out power for tens of thousands in the region.
Hurricane Barry: Facts
- The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Intracoastal City on Saturday afternoon. It weakened to a tropical storm shortly after.
- Barry could bring “dangerous, life-threatening flooding” with more than 20 inches of rainfall in Louisiana and Mississippi.
- 70,000 people without power: 67,000 in Louisiana and 3,000 in Mississippi.
- The U.S. Coast Guard rescued at least 12 people amid floodwaters in Louisiana.
“Life-threatening” flooding “the primary threat”
7:46 a.m. Sunday: In its early-morning advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said Barry continues to move westward over western Louisiana, with a turn toward the north expected Sunday.
The NHC said “life-threatening flooding rains” are the “primary threat” from the storm, which is expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the day. As of 5 a.m. ET, it was located about 80 miles south-southeast of Shreveport with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
A tropical storm warning is in effect along the Louisiana coast from Morgan City to Cameron, and a storm surge warning is in place from Intracoastal City to the mouth of the Atchafalaya River.
— Stefan Becket
Hurricane warnings lifted in Louisiana
10:25 p.m. Saturday: According a Saturday update from the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane warning for Louisiana was lifted. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the following regions:
- Mouth of the Mississippi River to Sabine Pass
- Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Intracoastal City to Biloxi, Mississippi, as well as Lake Pontchartrain. During a Saturday evening press conference, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged residents to continue preparing for potential life-threatening flash flooding and to not let their guard down.
“Every storm is different,” Edwards said. “My concern is we have a lot of people going to bed tonight thinking the worst is behind them and that’s not the case.”
— April Siese
Scientists worry about wildlife habitat
9:28 p.m.: Hurricane Barry could affect the environment of the Gulf coast and Lower Mississippi Valley in numerous ways, scientists say. But the extent of the damage is hard to predict because the region faces a rare combination: the storm’s anticipated tidal surge and torrential downpour, combined with record-high water levels in the Mississippi River.
“We don’t know how the system is going to respond to all this because it’s so unusual,” said Melissa Baustian, a coastal ecologist with the Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge.
Also vulnerable are Louisiana’s coastal marshes, already hammered by development and flood control measures that prevent natural coastal shoreline replenishment.
“There are going to be short-term effects on the ecosystem,” said David Muth of the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Restoration Program. “But what’s out of whack is that this amount of rainfall is linked to a longer-term trend because of climate change, and that’s disturbing.”
FEMA “confident” in its response
8:00 p.m.: During a Saturday press call, Jeff Byard told reporters he was confident in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s to the continued threat of Tropical Storm Barry. “We have adequate commodities if needed,” Byard said.
Byard serves as the agency’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Response and Recovery. Also on the call was Mark Wingate with the Army Corps. of Engineers, who said there was “no concerns of [the Mississippi river] overtopping the levees” in New Orleans.
Wingate said the Army Corps. was providing assistance in Plaquemines Parish, where back levees are being overtopped.
— April Siese