Millions of residents scraped themselves for Tropical Storm Barry Heavy on Saturday morning, while heavy rainfall and gusts of wind turned off the flow along much of the Gulf Coast.
Officials predicted that Barry would land as this year's first hurricane near Morgan City, west of New Orleans, where a curfew was set until 6:00 am.
But predictions about land pollution were pushed back from dawn to late in the morning or in the early afternoon, when the storm crept over the gulf coast at around 3 km / h, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said early Saturday.
A long day began with on and off rain, power outages and people using cell phones to look into the dark and open doors and windows to circulate the warm, sticky tropical air.
The large storm system currently involves heavy rainfall, a potential flood barrier and floods that pose a threat reminiscent of the deadly Hurricane Katrina in 2005, testing extreme weather defenses installed by the authorities at the time.
Clouds are seen over the Central Business District from dawn while Tropical Storm Barry arrives in New Orleans on Saturday as residents have been advised by the authorities to stay indoors and evacuate homes and businesses in low-lying areas
The Interstate 10 in New Orleans was almost empty and the eye of Tropical Storm Barry bared on the coast of Louisiana
Tropical showers hit New Orleans & # 39; at night. The streets in the famous French quarter were wet and empty
Heavy rainfall and gusts of wind swept the power off the Gulf Coast, while a strengthening tropical storm Barry turned a path to the coast on Saturday morning. The edges of the storm threw Louisiana and the coast of Mississippi and Alabama with rain on Saturday
Raindrops hit the coast before dawn and more than 56,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana had no power, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.us.
The edges of the storm hit Louisiana and the coast of Mississippi and Alabama with rain, leaving some roads under water & # 39;
Although it was expected to be a weak hurricane – just above the wind speed of 74 miles / hour – it threatened disastrous flooding in part of the Gulf Coast.
The storm is expected to cause the most damage to Louisiana and parts of Mississippi, with wind and rain affecting more than 3 million people.
Late Friday evening residents received good news from forecasters: the Mississippi River is expected to look around New Orleans at around 17.1 feet on Monday, not at 19 feet as previously predicted. The dikes protect the city from approximately 20 to 25 feet high.
Again, tropical showers met again & # 39; at night. When the day broke, the streets in the famous French district were barely damp.
It was airy, but flags on balconies hanging over the empty streets still occasionally became limp, with a few motorists braving the dangerous weather conditions by driving on the road.
Forecasters warned that most of the storm's rain remained over the Gulf of Mexico and would probably move to Louisiana and Mississippi later Saturday.
There were predictions of 10 to 20 centimeters of rain until Sunday in a Louisiana strip that included New Orleans and Baton Rouge, with some parts of the state possibly reaching 25 inches.
At the start of Saturday, the storm wrapped in winds at 65 miles per hour, just outside the hurricane force, and about 120 miles southwest of New Orleans, according to the National Hurricane Center
When dawn came closer, more than 45,000 people in southern Louisiana had lost power. In New Orleans, thousands of people moved into their homes when the flooded water reached low-lying areas such as Plaquemines Parish
Although it is expected to be a weak hurricane – just above the wind speed of 74 miles / hour – it threatened disastrous flooding in a part of the Gulf Coast as the water levels and wave strength increased along the coastal towns and cities.
& # 39; It's powerful. It is strengthening. And water is going to be a big problem, warned National Graricane Center Director Ken Graham.
Governors declared emergency situations in Louisiana and Mississippi, and the authorities took unprecedented precautions to close lock gates and erect barriers around New Orleans.
Governor John Bel Edwards said it was the first time that all the lock gates were sealed in the Hurricane Risk Reduction System in New Orleans since Katrina. Yet he said he did not expect the Mississippi to cross the dikes, despite the water levels already rising high due to spring rains and the melting snow upstream.
& # 39; My worries just hope it won't be another Katrina, & # 39; said Donald Wells, a restaurant chef in New Orleans.
Authorities told at least 10,000 people in exposed, low-lying areas along the Gulf coast to leave, but no evacuations were ordered in New Orleans, where officials urged residents to "hide in place."
Before they did, people packed up stores to store bottles of water, food, and other supplies.
Lifelong New Orleans resident Terrence Williams grabbed supplies at Costco and said he had a few simple rules for major storms.
Governor John Bel Edwards said it was the first time that all the lock gates were sealed in the New Orleans area, the Hurricane Risk Reduction System since Katrina in 2005
With Barry threatening massive rainfall in several southern states, federal emergency declarations were issued to help release funds to tackle the storm
Rescue teams and around 3,000 National Guard forces were posted around Louisiana with boats and high-water vehicles
& # 39; Stock on water. Stock food. Get ready for the storm – head out, & he said.
At least one pair canceled their carefully planned Saturday wedding in favor of raising the ceremony.
"We realized we had a marriage license, two rings … and we didn't really want to wait any longer," said Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert before marrying Lucy Sikes on Friday before the storm struck.
Employees also supported the dike ring system in places with beams, sheet metal and other barriers.
Rescue teams and around 3,000 National Guard forces were posted around Louisiana with boats, high-water vehicles, and helicopters. President Donald Trump declared a federal emergency for Louisiana, authorizing federal agencies to coordinate relief efforts.
The impending storm also caused a legal spit between neighboring parishes. East Baton Rouge Parish won a temporary restraining order against the AquaDams that Iberville Parish was planning to place along Bayou Manchac. A federal judge ruled Friday night that the water-filled flood control barriers could cause substantial material damage and loss of life in East Baton Rouge.
Scientists say that global warming is responsible for more intense and frequent storms and floods, but without extensive study they cannot link a single weather to the changing climate.
Forecast forecasts showed the storm heading for Chicago, with the Mississippi basin flowing with water that should eventually return to the south.
Before the worst storm, Kaci Douglas and her 15-year-old son, Juan Causey, were filling between dozens of sandbags at a fire station in Baton Rouge. She intended to use them to enter the door of her mansion.
& # 39; I told my son it is better to be safe than sorry, & # 39; she said.
In New Orleans, a group of neighbors have cleaned the storm drains in their street. Working together to lift the heavy metal covers, they discovered that most drains were full of dirt, leaves and trash.
Everywhere in the city people parked their cars on the town's medians – designated by the locals as & # 39; neutral grounds & # 39; – hoping that their vehicles would be safe on the slightly raised lanes.
After Katrina was blamed for more than 1,800 deaths, the Army Corps of Engineers have, according to some estimates, embarked on a multi-billion dollar hurricane protection system that is incomplete. The work included repairs and improvements to approximately 350 miles of dikes and more than 70 pumping stations.
It is estimated that the total damage and economic loss caused by Tropical Storm Barry will be $ 8 to $ 10 billion. This is based on an analysis of the damage expected from floods caused by very heavy rainfall in various states and storm tides.
According to estimates from AccuWeather, there will be damage to homes and businesses, as well as their content and cars, losses of farms and crops, pollution of drinking water resources and infrastructure damage.
Mike Yenni, president of Jefferson Parish at New Orleans, said the community has taken the "unprecedented" step to close hundreds of locks, largely due to the high levels of the Mississippi.
In St. John's Parish next to New Orleans, some communities were under two or more feet of water, local television images showed.
Grand Isle, one of the inhabited barrier islands to the east of the likely path of the storm, suffered a complete power outage on Friday, bringing crucial pumping stations to a halt, authorities said.
Residents and business owners in New Orleans put down sandbags and closed windows while city officials established shelters for residents.
In 2005, Katrina – the most expensive and deadliest hurricane in US history – flooded about 80 percent of New Orleans, causing around 1,800 deaths and more than $ 150 billion in damage.
The most important sports arena in the city, the Superdome, was converted into an emergency shelter during Katrina. The facility was due to a Rolling Stones concert on Sunday, but it was delayed by a day because of Barry.
& # 39; We're here with you – we'll get through this together & # 39 ;, the band said in a statement.
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