NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Hurricane Barry was kicking off Louisiana on Saturday, about to land as the first Atlantic hurricane in 2019 in the western movement that seemed to be interested in New Orleans from the huge flood earlier this week.
The National Hurricane Center, which said Barry had succeeded as a hurricane and the maximum continuous winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph) on Saturday morning, weakened the storm.
“Barry should quickly surrender to the strength of the hurricane as he moves along the shore, after which it is estimated that he will reduce under a tropical storm between 24-36 hours,” he said.
The storm could bring dangerous floods and storm surges to coastal regions southwest of New Orleans and Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
But there appeared to be a great risk of flooding from the river levees that historically passed the Mississippi River.
The river was arrested on Friday night at just under 17 feet in New Orleans, the National Weather Service, much lower than 20 feet earlier had predicted this week, thereby giving rise to the levees.
It was expected that the Monday river would flourish again at about 17 feet, up slightly due to the expected rain, the weather service said.
A prophecy said when the middle of the storm pushed the land ashore from sunrise to late morning or early afternoon when Barry clicked across the Gulf Coast at about 3 mph, forecasters told the National Hurricane Center.
The “lopsided” nature of the storm meant that most of the rain fell after ground and its slow pace increased the risk of flooding, said the weather service.
Significant floods, significant flooding and river flooding are more likely to occur over a Saturday and overnight, particularly over parts of mid-south and southeastern Louisiana to Mississippi, forecasters.
The authorities insisted on New Orleans residents receiving property, lobbying provisions and applying shelter. Some nervous residents chose to flee from the city, and tourism officials reported that visitors from the town were suddenly disappearing on Fridays.
Mandatory evacuation in outer coastal areas was ordered outside the protection of levees in the parishes of Plaquemines and Jefferson nearby to the south of the city.
Rain bonds were already hitting the coast before sunrise, and there were more than 62,000 homes and firms in Louisiana without power at local time, according to PowerOutage.us.
US President Donald Trump confirmed a state of emergency for Louisiana on Friday, releasing federal disaster aid if necessary.
Barry was seen as a test of flood defenses implemented since Hurricane Katrina, which left much of New Orleans underwater and killed about 1,800 people in 2005.
New Mayor of Orleans LaToya Cantrell said that 48 hours of heavy pump pumps could be designed to clean excessive streets and water drain drains.
The city's Sewerage and Water Board, which operates the pumps, said the agency expected between 6 and 12 inches of rainfall, down from up to 20 inches or more in some earlier forecasts.
“The most important thing now is how fast it comes,” Rainey said.
Pumps of the city can handle about half an hour's rainfall transfer.
“While the movement of the storm back is a promising sign that Barry's impact on New Orleans may be less than originally predicted, we are not letting our minds,” he said.
Across the city, car drivers parked on the raised median strips left roads, hoping that the extra elevation would protect them from flood damage. Outside sandbags were packed to hotels, shops and other businesses along Canal Street.
The sheriff's office stated that many prison prisoners detained on minor charges had been released to provide space for almost 70 prisoners transferred from temporary locking to the main detention facility, which was built to withstand a major hurricane.
The sun looked short at the center of New Orleans on Saturday, although gray clouds of the sky covered most of the morning.
Yuda and Cecilia Lilo, tourists from Bolivia, were walking through the narrow roads of the French Quarter, and their journey was not entirely clean.
“Everything is closed, so we can't even get breakfast,” said Yuda, vacancies were mostly empty. “We have given a chance and we are making the most of it.”
Reporting by Collin Eaton and Kathy Finn; Additional reporting at Gabriella Borter in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Writing by Sonya Hepinstall; Edited by Toby Chopra and Daniel Wallis
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