New Orleans is once again seeing dangerous flooding, this time thanks to a brewing tropical storm system which is gathering strength over the Gulf of Mexico and may soon make landfall as Hurricane Barry. A flash flood emergency was declared after the city was pummeled with four to six inches of rain on Wednesday morning amid severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings.
Although the downpours had slowed down by late morning, as Barry continues to make its way inland this will only be the start of what is shaping to be a very soggy weekend for the Louisiana Gulf Coast — to put it lightly.
“Even though the most persistent heavy rain looks to be moving out of New Orleans for now, heavy downpours will still be a threat to move through at times over the coming days as the budding tropical system moves by just off of the coast to the south,” AccuWeather meteorologist Jake Sojda said.
“This weekend looks to carry the most significant flooding threat for southern Louisiana, as what is expected to be Hurricane Barry by that time makes landfall in southwestern Louisiana,” Sojda said. He added, “Areas to the east of the landfall point are expected to see the heaviest rain this weekend, with 20-plus inches possible in spots. This threat includes New Orleans.”
The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 20 feet Friday night into Saturday, give or take, according to the National Weather Service. This could present an imminent possibility for disaster since the levees are only capable of protecting the city from surges up to 20 feet.
Residents are being advised to stay off roads and seek higher ground if they encounter flooding. Photos and videos from New Orleans are already showing streets in and around the French Quarter underwater, with more heavy rains to come.
Tornadoes and waterspouts have also been spotted around the area:
The Governor of Louisiana has declared a State of Emergency for the region, but mandatory evacuations have not yet been ordered.