Louisiana declares state of emergency as Tropical Storm Barry approaches U.S. coast

Friday, July 12, 2019

The governor of Louisiana, a U.S. state on the Gulf of Mexico, declared a state of emergency for the state on Thursday, with Tropical Storm Barry approaching the coast.

Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the public: "No one should take this storm lightly. As we know all too well in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact." He said he has arranged for 3000 of the National Guard to be available and has search and rescue teams at the ready and has requested U.S. President Donald Trump declare a state of emergency in Lousiana on the federal level.

Governor Edwards (in blue) with the Louisiana National Guard in 2016.
Image: National Guard.

The mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, advised residents of her city to make plans and shelter in place. Residents of some other areas, such as Jefferson Parish, have been instructed to evacuate.

According to the United States National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Barry could develop into a hurricane as soon as Friday. Meteorologists predict landfall Saturday morning.

Although its winds are only predicted to reach about 75 miles per hour (120 kph), the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning covering an area from Gulfport, Mississippi, to New Orleans and other forecasters predicted a storm surge of three to six feet (one to two meters).

As of midday Thursday, the storm was about 90 miles (145 km) south of the coast and moving at roughly five miles per hour (eight kilometers per hour).

The city of New Orleans already sustained heavy rains earlier this week, with flooding. New Orleans and Jefferson Parish officials have said they are not concerned about the levees, which have about five or six feet of leeway for rising water.