The edges of Tropical Storm Barry are lashing the Louisiana coast with heavy rain. Roads are flooded and tens of thousands are without power, forcing some evacuations. The storm’s powerful winds have toppled trees and blown aluminum siding around in the coastal community of Chauvin.
Barry is expected to make landfall later Saturday morning, most likely as a hurricane, about 85-miles southwest of New Orleans in Morgan City. The storm is about 55-miles southwest of Morgan City with maximum sustained winds of 65-miles per hour.
Tropical Storm Barry: Fast Facts
- More than 56,000 people are without power in Louisiana.
- The powerful storm is expected to make landfall near Morgan City around 12 p.m. ET.
- Barry could bring “dangerous, life-threatening flooding” with more than 20 inches of rainfall in southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
New Orleans on high-alert for dangerous flooding
New Orleans resident Ray Peters said he and his family are preparing for the worst. CBS News spoke to him as he loaded several heavy sandbags into his pickup to place around his home.
“We have the generator ready, my lights, my food, etc.,” said Peters, who is one of many locals who survived Hurricane Katrina.
Forecasters said it is unlikely that Barry would become a ferocious hurricane, but some residents aren’t taking any chances.
“I was here for Katrina. We had 23 feet of water here,” one resident said. “I learned that lesson the hard way.”
No mandatory evacuations were ordered in the city. Officials instead urged residents to shelter in place, while tourists have been instructed to take shelter in hotels. Many businesses in the city’s popular French quarter are boarded up and closed.
Landfall expected around 12 p.m. ET
CBS News lost power at a Morgan City hotel Saturday morning. Thousands of residents are without power throughout the city. The storm is crawling at 5 mph. Forecasters initially thought landfall would be at 7 a.m. ET. They now predict it will make landfall around 12 p.m. ET.
— David Begnaud reports from Morgan City
FAA says it’s “closely monitoring” storm
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement on Friday saying it was monitoring Tropical Storm Barry. “We are preparing facilities and equipment to withstand storm damage along the projected storm path so we can quickly resume disaster relief operations after it passes,” the agency said.
The statement included tips for travelers who may be impacted by the storm. The FAA advises checking with airlines about flight statuses and taking every aspect of traveling into consideration, from parking and checking in to passing through security and boarding.
A notice was issued urging drone users to avoid flying in the area and outright barring those without remote certification or exemptions from flying.
Some Louisianans choosing to stay behind
President Trump’s emergency declaration frees up more federal resources and will help coordinate the response to the looming disaster. Ahead of the storm, Louisiana residents in low-lying areas tied up boats, stocked up on supplies, prepared sandbags and got out Thursday.
“Anytime there is a disturbance it always disturbs me,” Ken Smith said.
But some chose to stay behind. “Help people that need help, ride it out, party it up,” one man said.
Begnaud reported that Grand Isle, one of the parishes ordered to evacuate, has five permanent drainage pumps and they’ve brought in six temporary pumps to help with the expected deluge.
FEMA personnel were already on the ground in Louisiana and 3,000 National Guard members were also called in to help.
New Orleans residents brace for flooding
In New Orleans, storm system improvements made after Hurricane Katrina are about to be put to the test.
In low-lying areas south of the city, some residents heeded the warnings: Stock up, pack up, and in some parishes and evacuate. The preparations included closing massive flood gates and tying shrimping boats down.
Storms that unleashed flash-flooding in New Orleans on Wednesday were a fresh reminder of what a deluge can do. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said drainage pumps are working but said, “We cannot pump our way out of the water levels and the waterfalls that are expected to hit.”
All eyes are on the levees that protect the city. The forecasted crest was revised down to 17 feet and the Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it did not expect any overtopping.