NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Barry's Tropical Storm, to land as the first Atlantic hurricane in 2019, has been far closer to the Louisiana coast early on Saturday as most New Orleans residents were joking at home , or in bars, talking about the serious threat of flooding.
Barry's Tropical Storm approaching Louisiana's coast, US. from the Gulf of Mexico in this satellite leaflet photo July 12, 2019. NOAA / Leaflet through REUTERS
Authorities urged citizens to acquire property, build supplies and shelter. However, some nervous residents chose to flee from the city, and tourism officials reported that visitors from the town were disappearing on Friday.
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.
The storm, packing maximum continuous wind of 65 miles per hour (100 kph), was on the road to reach a hurricane strength shortly before crossing the Louisiana coast southwest of New Orleans on Saturday, said the National Weather Service.
Predictions in a country were pushed back from sunrise to late morning or early afternoon, as the storm hit the Gulf Coast at about 3 mph, forecasters told the National Hurricane Center in early Saturday.
Rain bonds were already hitting the coast before sunrise.
Meteorologists warned that heavy rain – up to 2 feet (60 cm) in some places – could alleviate heavy flooding as the domestic storm moves from the Gulf of Mexico, where production is already down 60 per cent. oil and gas operations.
US President Donald Trump confirmed a state of emergency for Louisiana on Friday, releasing federal disaster aid if necessary.
The upcoming storm could test flood defenses that were implemented since the disease was played by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which left a large part of New Orleans underwater and killed around 1,800 people.
Barry's force was expected to ski on the western edge of New Orleans, avoiding a direct strike on a low city around all sides by rising waters.
But Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that 48 hours of heavy pump pipes could be designed to clean streets and storm drains of excess water.
“There is no system in the world that can handle this amount of rain in such a short space of time,” said Cantrell on Twitter.
Authorities gave particular attention to the levee system built to encompass the lower Mississippi River, which passes through the heart in New Orleans and was already over the flood phase from the month of heavy rainfall over the Midwest.
(New Orleans and their levees: tmsnrt.rs/2jdGot)
It was expected that a coastal storm boom would enter the mouth of the Mississippi to a badge of 19 feet (5.79 m) in New Orleans on Saturday, the highest level since 1950 and dangerously close to the top of the city levees.
New Orleans were already stranded after thunderstorms stopped it with rain rains Wednesday.
While street flooding appeared to be required, the US Engineers' Corps of Engineers claimed that there was unlikely to be a significant breach of the 20ft highways in New Orleans.
Flood spells are normally open to allow traffic to be closed, together with a large sea surge barrier built after Katrina.
The level of Pontchartrain Lake, an estuary on the northern outskirts of the city, rose 3 feet on Friday, which began to close a flood gate on a drainage canal which was infringed during Katrina, officials said.
Before the storm, New Orleans residents went to supermarkets for bottled water, ice, snacks and beer, grocery stores were pasting that some of them were from shopping carts.
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.
City residents were asked to stay inside after 8 n.m. but some of them, in line with New Orleans party spirit, decided that they would come in a more festive environment.
“The rain won't shut us down, we're going to close this place,” said Brett Tidball, 33, who gathered with eight friends in Bourbon Street bar for his bachelor party, asking the pianist to back up bad weather songs.
“Purple Rain” added Prince's down the street.
Reporting by Collin Eaton and Kathy Finn; Additional reporting at Gabriella Borter in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Writing with Steve Gorman; Edited by Daniel Wallis and Toby Chopra
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