Whether it reaches hurricane strength or not, CNN reports, torrential rains are the real danger Barry is bringing.
Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall sometime between late Friday night into Saturday afternoon. "That will be the first time we've actually had a hurricane hit Louisiana while the Mississippi River was at flood stage".
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for areas of Plaquemines Parish beyond the levees southeast of the city and for low-lying communities in Jefferson Parish, to the southwest. He said authorities do not expect the river to spill over its levees, but cautioned that a change in the storm's direction or intensity could alter that. "New Orleans had already gotten 10 inches of rain over the last 36 hours and some places were already facing major flooding problems".
Barry is getting stronger as it creeps across the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters en route to a landfall expected early Saturday in Louisiana. Still, the unusual confluence of factors is rattling nerves along the "sliver by the river", a swath of relatively high ground along the MS that's less likely to flood in typical rain and hurricane storm surge events than other areas.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says via Twitter, "High water vehicles and boats are pre-staged around the city should water rescues be necessary".
Tropical Storm Barry continues to become better organized as it tracks slowly toward the west at 3 miles per hour.
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Gov. John Bel Edwards warns Barry will be a rain event, urges residents to listen to local officials.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said pockets of Louisiana could have as much as 25 inches (63 centimeters) of rain.
Barry's downpours could prove to be a severe test of the improvements made to New Orleans' flood defenses since the city was devastated by Katrina in 2005. Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, Louisiana, including metropolitan New Orleans. "I told my son it's better to be safe than sorry", she said.
"The water over land actually helps the storm", Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded office, said about the double-whammy.
New Orleans residents who plan to ride out the storm flocked to supermarkets for bottled water, ice, snacks and beer, thronging grocery stores in such numbers that some ran out of shopping carts. Throughout the city, motorists left cars parked on the raised median strips of roadways hoping the extra elevation would protect them from flood damage.
Flooding concerns are not limited to Louisiana.