/New Orleans Told ‘Do Not Drop Your Guard’ as Barry Brings Rains

New Orleans Told ‘Do Not Drop Your Guard’ as Barry Brings Rains


Photographer: Nicole Craine/Bloomberg

As Barry crawled ashore the Louisiana coast, New Orleans officials are asking residents to beware.

“We are sensing a great deal of impatience with the onset of impacts from Tropical Storm Barry,” the National Weather Service’s New Orleans branch said on Twitter early Saturday morning. “Plenty of very heavy rainfall parked off the coast to move through the area throughout the day Saturday into Sunday. Be patient and DO NOT drop your guard.”

Heavy downpours that had been forecast to reach New Orleans Saturday morning had largely failed to materialize. And as predictions for the Mississippi River to significantly rise dissipated, most people in the city and its surrounding towns prepared for just another bad storm.

On Friday night, a smaller-than-usual group of tourists partied on Bourbon Street despite a directive from the New Orleans Police Department to shelter in place.

“It’s really nothing to us over here,” Flynn Hoob, a resident of Bourg, Louisiana, southwest of New Orleans, said Friday afternoon. “You’ve got these locals, man. They’ve been here their whole lives.”

While Barry has weakened to a tropical storm and made
landfall
on Saturday near Itracoastal City — about 125 miles west of New Orleans — weather forecasts warn that it’s still capable of lashing the state with as much as two feet of rain.

Worst to Come

“We don’t want people to think everything’s done just because it hasn’t rained very hard yet,” said Christopher Bannan, a meteorologist in Slidell, Louisiana. “The worst is going to come later this afternoon.”

In the days leading up to the storm, New Orleans residents were
on edge
as the Mississippi River’s water levels in the city was predicted to rise to the most in almost seven decades. But the National Weather Service now estimates a peak of about 17 feet, or almost three feet below prior forecasts. That would still be the highest since 1995.

Brad Downey, a former New Orleans resident visiting from Texas, isn’t worried, and said he’s not expecting any major flooding from Barry.

“There will definitely be some flooding, and I’m sure some businesses will get two to three inches of water,” he said at the bar of the Compère Lapin on Tchoupitoulas Street early Saturday afternoon. “It’s just part of life down here. We can get 15 inches of rain on any given Tuesday.”

The Rolling Stones concert that brought him to the city was rescheduled to Monday from Sunday night, however.

— With assistance by Brian K Sullivan

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