Photos: 1st hurricane landfall of the season leaves Louisiana, Mississippi waterlogged
When levees near Myrtle Grove, Louisiana were breached by floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Barry, the town became extremely inundated. On July 13, water completely covered roads and left any who didn't evacuate stuck inside.
Following a brief stint as a Category 1 hurricane, Barry weakened once again to a tropical storm on Saturday after making landfall along the central Louisiana coast. Sunday afternoon, the storm downsized to a tropical depression over northwestern Louisiana, though its heavy rain continues to plague communities.
As Barry moved inland, multiple reports emerged of levees overtopping in Terrebonne and Plaquemines parishes, with mandatory evacuations being ordered by Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove for all areas along Louisiana Highway 315.
AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer captured footage of water overtopping a levee in St. Mary Parish. Mandatory evacuations were being put into effect for areas south of Highway 317 with sheriff's deputies going door to door to notify residents.
Around 10 a.m. CDT Saturday, Barry became the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season and the fourth hurricane to ever make landfall on the Louisiana coast in the month of July. The storm's initial landfall occurred when the center of circulation moved across Marsh Island, followed by its final landfall near Intracoastal City, located about 160 miles west of New Orleans.
Since record-keeping began in 1851, only Hurricanes Bob in 1979, Danny in 1997 and Cindy in 2005, have made landfall on the Louisiana coast in July, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
Despite weakening, Barry will continue to slowly spread a widespread swath of flooding and torrential rain from Louisiana and Mississippi to eastern Arkansas, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
"There can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 2 feet," she said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards warned residents during a press conference that Barry would be a significant weather event, telling residents not to take the storm lightly. Edwards said the state and levees in New Orleans were ready for impact and should withstand the floodwaters.
“We have a lot of people going to bed thinking the worst is behind them, when in fact, that’s not going to be the case,” Gov. Edwards said on Saturday warning of the potential dangers on Sunday.
The United States Coast Guard made several rescues in Terrebonne Park, Louisiana, when Barry hit the area on Saturday. A man and his dog were airlifted into a helicopter after floodwaters inundated his house.
"New Orleanians are glad they made preparations even though Barry dodged the area. Its always worth preparation, you never know these storms get crazy sometimes,” New Orleans resident Joe Anderson said.
Jackie Oakwin woke up to the sound of an 100 year-old oak tree crashing on her roof.
“Everything shook. I think the neighbors house shook,” Oakwin said.
In Baton Rouge, people were unfazed by the storm's approach and held a Barry party instead of hunkering down or evacuating. As Julie Payor of Baton Rouge, who had a tree fallen tree crush the air conditioning system just outside her home and narrowly missed the house, said, "I've lived in Louisiana long enough to know that you need to have a little laughter and music to make it through a storm."
By 4 a.m. CDT Sunday, over 150,000 customers across Louisiana had lost power, according to PowerOutage.US.
Law enforcement responded to likely tornado damage with downed power lines along Fore Road near the Livingston Parish in Louisiana on Saturday morning.
On top of tornadoes, Barry will also unleash heavy rain across the region, AccuWeather forecasters cautioned.
"Our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding," AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
On Sunday afternoon just before 4 p.m. CDT, Barry weakened to a tropical depression over northwestern Louisiana. However, it continues to dump life-threatening flooding rains over the communities it passes through.
Just east of where Barry made landfall, a tide gauge at Amerada Pass measured a storm surge of nearly 7 feet on Saturday afternoon, with tide levels reaching 8.23 feet, which exceeded levels measured during Hurricane Ike, 7.81 feet, from Sept. 12, 2008.
Storm surge began to inundate the coast of Louisiana as early as Friday morning as Barry gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Timmer reported from just outside of Chauvin, Louisiana, about an hour south of New Orleans.
Louisiana declared a state of emergency in advance of Barry's arrival as residents and crews worked to brace for impact. New Orleans residents were told to shelter in place by 8 p.m. CDT Friday.
Voluntary evacuations were issued across New Orleans for areas that were not protected by the levees.
Every flood gate was closed along Lake Pontchartrain due to the anticipated flooding. The city of New Orleans did not offer any sandbags ahead of the storm, but businesses and residents stepped up to provide sandbags for people in town. AccuWeather National Reporter Jonathan Petramala captured video of dozens of residents pitching in to fill up sandbags ahead of Barry.
Travelers were faced with canceled flights in New Orleans on Saturday, while Rolling Stones fans missed out on the Rolling Stones concert this weekend after it was postponed to Monday due to Barry.
Impacts from Barry were felt along the Florida Panhandle as well. On Friday, a law enforcement officer was treated for facial cuts after a powerful wave churned up by Barry broke the windshield of a boat near Destin, Florida, about 50 miles east of Pensacola, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Twitter page.
A large wave, from Tropical Storm Barry shattered the windshield of an OCSO Marine Unit Boat on July 13. The deputy was trying to rescue a boater in distress. He was treated for some facial cuts, but everyone is doing ok.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to any tropical advisories, watches and warnings. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Additional reporting by Reed Timmer, Jonathan Petramala, Brian Lada and Kevin Byrne.Report a Typo
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