'Life-Threatening' Tropical Storm Barry Grinds Toward Louisiana

Angelo Anderson
July 13, 2019

Barry could have winds of about 75 miles per hour (120 kph), just barely over the 74 miles per hour threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a Category 1 storm, forecasters said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott warned a news conference: "Tropical Storm Barry is a risky and life-threatening storm".

Hurricane warnings are up for most of the Louisiana coast as the weather system has already brought risky storm surge, heavy rains and gusty winds to cities. Now we don't expect the Mississippi River levees to be overtopped anywhere. Forecasters predict at least 10-15 inches of rain, which could cause major flooding.

The EPA, which is in change of toxic waste sites and was forced to address flooded sites that released unsafe chemicals into waters during Hurricane Harvey, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Barry. The Mississippi River is already running abnormally high because of heavy spring rains and snowmelt upstream, and the ground around New Orleans is soggy because of an 8-inch torrent earlier this week.

"I am encouraging, I am imploring residents to prepare", said Gov. Edwards. That will be the first time and it will come in as a hurricane. "But I'm confident that New Orleans is going to weather this storm (Barry) in pretty good fashion".

The Mississippi is expected to crest Saturday at about 5.8m in New Orleans, where the levees protecting the city range from about 6m to 7.5m in height.

"The real increased threat from a warming climate is an atmosphere that's capable of producing higher intensity precipitation events", said Jill Trepanier, an expert in extreme climatic and weather events at Louisiana State University.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, and the region's oil production was scaled back by almost 60 percent as energy companies evacuated offshore drilling facilities. And because it's a very slow-moving system which could stay in the area longer than usual, authorities are warning residents to brace for serious rainfall and widespread flooding, posing a huge potential test of New Orleans' flood defenses.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Thursday that the pumping system that drains the city's streets is working as designed but that Barry could dump water faster than the pumps can move it.

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

Green group Environment America said there were more than 100 Superfund environmental cleanup sites and 17 oil refineries in the path of the storm.

Flooding concerns are not limited to Louisiana.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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