Barry makes landfall; weakens to tropical storm

Barry has made landfall in Louisiana and has weakened to a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm arrived on land Saturday afternoon near Intracoastal City.

The center is warning of dangerous storm surge, heavy rains and strong winds.

National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham said that Barry had gathered “a big slough of moisture” and was expected to dump rain on the area throughout the weekend.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said Saturday that parts of his barrier island in Alabama are flooded from both the driving rain early Saturday and surging water from the Gulf of Mexico.

Collier was driving around in a Humvee to survey the damage. He said the island still has power and wind damage was minimal.

Authorities say water is flowing over the tops of a few levees in areas south of New Orleans.

Officials said Saturday morning the levees are in lower Plaquemines Parish and are not the main levees protecting the Mississippi River.

Plaquemines Parish emergency workers told news outlets they are getting crews to check the levees and make any repairs needed.

The levees are near Myrtle Grove and Pointe Celeste, and the water is threatening Highway 23, one of the main roads through the parish.

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told WVUE-TV anyone who remains south of Myrtle Grove should evacuate from the finger of low-lying, flood prone land that follows the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Much of Plaquemines Parish had been under an evacuation order since Thursday.

National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham said Tropical Storm Barry is gathering “a big slough of moisture” just off the central Louisiana coast and is taking its time to come ashore Saturday morning, meaning “a lot of rain is on the way.”

Graham delivered a storm update using Facebook Live from the hurricane center, where he pointed to a computer screen showing a big swirling mess of airborne water. “That is just an amazing amount of moisture,” he said. “That is off the chart.”

He said the storm is moving so slowly that heavy rain will likely continue throughout the weekend across Louisiana. He said the highest tornado threat is on the east side of the storm, along the Mississippi coast, and Mobile Bay. And the Mississippi River isn’t the only waterway to worry about: He says other rivers and creeks will be overflowing across several states.

Graham reminded viewers that “83 percent of fatalities from these systems have been from inland rain. So let’s stay off the roads. Let’s prevent these preventable fatalities.”

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