Story updated July 12, 2019, 8:14 a.m.
Forecasters have issued hurricane warnings for parts of the Louisiana coast, as Tropical Storm Barry churns ominously in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. President Donald Trump declared a State of Emergency in Louisiana Thursday night, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FIMA) to coordinate federal funds and resources to help the state coop with the storm and its aftermath.
The National Hurricane Center expects Barry to hit the coast as a Category 1 storm late Friday or early Saturday. It would be the first Atlantic hurricane of the season.
As of early Friday, Barry was about 155 kilometers southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, with top winds at 85 kilometers per hour and crawling at about 7 kilometers per hour. The slow movement is enabling Barry to suck up more moisture and energy from the warm Gulf waters.
Forecasters predict the city can expect as much as 38 centimeters (15 inches) of additional rain from Barry, pushing the Mississippi River’s crest close to the top of the 6-meter-high (19.6 feet) levees protecting New Orleans.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for about 10,000 people living near the stretch of the Mississippi River closest to the Gulf. A storm surge warning is in effect for southern and southeastern Louisiana.
Along with heavy rain and strong winds, Barry could bring dangerous storm surges and tornadoes before it moves inland and weakens.