The Latest: Tornadoes possible as Tropical Storm Barry looms
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Barry (all times local):
The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for parishes in the New Orleans area as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the southern Louisiana coast.
The agency issued tornado warnings for southwestern St. Bernard Parish and northwestern Plaquemines Parish early Saturday. A bulletin said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish, moving north at 50 mph. The bulletin said winds could be accompanied by pea-sized hail.
Residents were advised to take cover immediately. The advisory was in effect until 1:30 a.m., local time.
Barry is expected to make landfall later Saturday morning near Morgan City.
Tropical Storm Barry continued to inch toward the Louisiana coast as forecasters expect it to make landfall as a hurricane.
An early Saturday advisory from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Barry was around 70 miles (115 kilometers) south of Morgan City, near where it’s expected to make landfall later Saturday morning.
According to the advisory, the storm is expected to move northward through the Mississippi Valley through Sunday night, although steady weakening is expected as it moves inland from the south-central coast. The edges of the storm have already started lashing Louisiana with rain and left some coastal roads underwater.
The storm is currently 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (105 kph) and higher gusts.
People have boarded up buildings and braced for a strengthening Tropical Storm Barry that threatened millions as it churned a path ashore.
The storm is testing efforts to guard against flooding since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans 14 years ago.
Officials predicted Barry would make landfall Saturday morning near Morgan City as the first hurricane of the season.
The edges of the storm have already started lashing Louisiana with rain and left some coastal roads underwater.
But late Friday night, residents received good news from forecasters. Experts predict the Mississippi River will crest in New Orleans at about 17.1 feet (5.2 meters), not 19 feet (5.8 meters) as had been earlier predicted.
The levees protecting the city range from about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) in height.