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New Orleans and Tropical Storm Barry

New Orleans and Tropical Storm Barry

An Unprecedented Problem

Tropical Storm Barry presents New Orleans with an unprecedented problem. This is according to the National Weather Service.

The Mississippi River, which is usually at 6 to 8 feet in midsummer in the Big Easy, is now at 16 feet. Owing to record flooding taken place this year all along the waterway.

In the meantime, Barry is spinning away in the Gulf of Mexico. It is threatening a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet at the mouth of the river. This is according to Jeffrey Graschel. He is a hydrologist with the weather service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center in Louisiana.

The unusual confluence of factors adds up to a forecast that has the river cresting Saturday at 19 feet. This is a level not seen since February 1950. Also, about 2.3 feet shy of the record set in April 1922, the weather service said Thursday.

Mandatory evacuations in at least 2 parishes

Barry, set to be the first tropical system to hit the US this year, is moving slowly, the weather service said. Residents of the coast and in the lower Mississippi Valley could see heavy rainfall through the weekend. Also early next week, with flash flooding, river flooding and storm surge likely.
“Look, there are three ways that Louisiana floods: storm surge, high rivers, and rain,” Gov. Edwards said. “We’re going to have all three. “States of emergency declared in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and St. Charles parishes. Jefferson Parish and Plaquemines Parish have instituted mandatory evacuations. This is a precaution in low-lying areas or those outside major levees. New Orleans has not issued mandatory or voluntary evacuations, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. An evacuation wouldn’t be considered until the storm was a Category 3, she said. For now, the strategy is to shelter in place. The US Army Corps of Engineers insists that it does not expect to overtop the city’s levees under the forecast conditions. Also, said Thursday that it is “extremely confident in the integrity of the system.”

Read more of this article from CNN.

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