New Orleans floods ahead of possible hurricane
A tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to make landfall as a hurricane later this week.
We're wrapping up our live coverage, but here's what you need to know about the potential hurricane:
- The storm has a name: The National Hurricane Center predicts Tropical Storm Barry will form in the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday and strengthen to a hurricane by Saturday, when it's expected to make landfall in Louisiana. It would be first tropical system to slam the US this year.
- It caused flooding in New Orleans: The storm system already prompted a tornado warning and flash flood emergency, both in the New Orleans area.
- The worst is yet to come: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said about 10 to 15 inches of rain could fall within 24 hours between Friday and Saturday. Edwards issued a state of emergency for the state.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority plans to close more than 90 floodgates in the next 24 hours ahead of the storm.
The agency's spokesperson Antwan Harris told CNN that they closed 21 floodgates this evening. The agency said they plan to close at least 70 more over the next 24 hours.
Harris said the agency's main concern is the floodgates on the Mississippi River. He added that they are constantly monitoring the gates.
The system has more than 250 floodgates, Harris said.
Plaquemines Parish ordered mandatory evacuations starting Thursday morning for parts of the community.
Evacuations for the east bank of Plaquemines Parish and the west bank starting at Oakville south to Venice start at 6 a.m. local time.
Plaquemines Parish has also declared a state of emergency.
Potential storm surge has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for the Mississippi River, including at New Orleans, through Saturday.
The NWS said the river could crest at 19 feet, or 2.3 feet below the record. The city is protected to a height of 20 feet.
The Flood Protection Authority said it will be closing several flood gates and structures in the New Orleans area starting today.
"No one should take this storm lightly," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has declared a state of emergency for the city ahead of the storm.
“Because of intense thunderstorms, and the further potential for tropical or hurricane force winds and further thunderstorms, New Orleans may experience more widespread localized severe flooding and gale force winds that could result in the endangerment and threat of life, injury and possible property damage," she said in a statement.
About the system: The National Hurricane Center predicts Tropical Storm Barry will form in the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday and strengthen to a hurricane by Saturday, when it's expected to make landfall in Louisiana.
The tropical system has already spawned its first tornado warning and flash flood emergency, both in the New Orleans area.
The bread shelves are empty at a Walmart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ahead of the impending storm.
Will Kaglear told CNN that there were long lines at Walmart as residents stocked up on bread, water and canned goods.
The National Hurricane Center has issued hurricane watches for parts of coastal Louisiana.
The watches extend from the mouth of the Mississippi River, west to Cameron, Louisiana. The watch does not currently include the New Orleans metro area.
About the tropical system: It is forecast to become Tropical Storm Barry sometime late tonight or tomorrow, then intensify into a hurricane sometime late Friday or early Saturday.
Landfall is still forecast to occur along the Louisiana or upper Texas coast sometime on Saturday as a hurricane. Storm surge, hurricane force winds, and extensive flooding is forecast along the Gulf Coast region into the weekend.