Barry is a triple threat of storm surge, high rivers and flooding as it gets closer to the Louisiana coast

Tropical Storm Barry slightly strengthens as it crawls toward Louisiana. Heavy flooding and storm surge are the key components. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the details.

Posted: Jul 12, 2019 10:30 AM
Updated: Jul 12, 2019 10:30 AM

Louisiana authorities are urging residents not to underestimate the danger and destruction Tropical Storm Barry threatens as it nears the coast Friday.

"Look, there are three ways that Louisiana floods: storm surge, high rivers and rain. We're going to have all three," Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday in a news conference.

Barry is getting stronger as it creeps across the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters en route to a landfall expected early Saturday in Louisiana.

While it could reach hurricane strength, the real peril it poses to roughly 10 million people in its path is rain, which could quickly trigger unprecedented flooding.

Ten to 15 more inches of rain are on the way, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said, threatening to inundate ground already soaked from a Wednesday storm that flooded some New Orleans homes and businesses.

Meantime, another risk looms in the Mississippi River. Usually at 6 to 8 feet this time of year around the Big Easy, the river is at 16 feet after a year of record flooding, and Barry could push in a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet.

Officials are "confident that there will not be overtopping of the levees in New Orleans," Edwards told CNN Friday. Still, the unusual confluence of factors is rattling nerves along the "sliver by the river," a swath of relatively high ground along the Mississippi that's less likely to flood in typical rain and hurricane storm surge events than other areas.

At 8 a.m. ET Friday, Barry was 95 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. About 800,000 people are under a hurricane warning along the Louisiana coast from south of Lafayette to south of New Orleans.

Barry is the first storm of the 2019 season to approach the United States.

Stocking up or moving out

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, where officials activated 3,000 National Guard members in anticipation of the destruction Barry might bring, the governor said.

"Heed the warnings," he told CNN's John Berman on Friday morning, pointing out that fatalities often happen when motorists try to drive through floodwater.

"It's deeper than they believe it to be, and also there's current that sometimes is imperceptible," Edwards said. "We need individuals to not drive through standing water."

While some in low-lying places have been directed to evacuate, officials haven't ordered mandatory evacuations in the most populated areas.

Many residents aren't eager to endure the expense and effort of leaving, compared with what could be a few uncomfortable hours or days without power. Many also want to stay home so they can bail water if it rises, then dry out floors and drywall as soon as it recedes.

Pamela Hughes will ride out the storm in her mother's trailer in Port Sulphur, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, she said.

"I really don't think it's going to be too bad," she told CNN.

Others, including Kristopher Williams, are staying behind to protect their pets and their belongings.

"Everything I own is in it," he said of his truck. "I'm not an ignorant person. I know the dangers. I also know how to get out of just about any bind I encounter."

As others head to higher ground, Chef José Andrés' nonprofit World Central Kitchen announced Thursday it would set up kitchens in Lafayette and New Orleans ahead of the storm.

Overwhelmed pumps and pipes

New Orleans' network of drainage pumps, underground pipes and canals were overwhelmed earlier this week by rain. And though water piled up briefly on some streets, the storm was a good test of the drainage system, Edwards said.

"It performed well," he said, adding, "you never know exactly what Mother Nature's going to throw at you. ... But I'm confident that New Orleans is going to weather this storm (Barry) in pretty good fashion."

Flooding concerns are not limited to Louisiana. Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle are also at risk for extreme rain, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said Thursday.

Mobile, Alabama, can expect heavy rain that may lead to flash flooding, as well as a high risk of rip currents and a surf up to 8 feet, the National Weather Service tweeted early Friday.

The Florida Panhandle has seen double red flags go up in some areas, closing beaches, the weather service said.

The Mississippi Delta Region is also at risk for tornadoes beginning Friday evening.

West Lafayette
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
Kokomo
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 51°
Rensselaer
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Fowler
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Williamsport
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 49°
Frankfort
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Delphi
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 50°
Monticello
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 48°
Cooler, Windy with Spotty Showers
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events