Barry maintaining strength as it nears the coast

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (July 12, 2019) — Tropical Storm Barry is maintaining its strength as it moves toward Louisiana, where it threatens to bring heavy rains and flooding.

A Friday afternoon advisory from the U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm'smaximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph. The hurricane center says additional strengthening is expected and the storm is forecast to be a hurricane when its center reaches the coast.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast.

Meanwhile, a voluntary evacuation has been called for a Louisiana parish near the storm's expected landfall Saturday.

St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff says many people have already left areas below the Intracoastal Waterway, where a voluntary evacuation was called Thursday. He says Friday's voluntary evacuation was called after the storm's predicted course shifted a bit west, putting the parish on the storm's rainy eastern side.

Hanagriff says shelters will be opened, though he couldn't say when.

He says drainage canals and ditches are being pumped to as low a level as possible, to create a reservoir for at least some of the rain predicted. Pumps sent by the state are being staged in Morgan City, where about 10,000 to 12,000 of the parish's 50,000 to 55,000 residents live.

Tourists in New Orleans are being asked to "shelter in place" in their hotels if they don't have confirmed airline reservations for flights out of the city.

The director of Louis Armstrong International Airport said long lines formed early Friday as many visitors sought early departures. And Kristian Sonnier  of the local tourism agency, says people who don't get flights out won't be able to shelter at the airport.

Officials said one major convention, the annual meeting of Delta Sigma Theta Sorrority was wrapping up early.

 

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