After turning into a hurricane for a few hours, the meteorological phenomenon Barry finally touched earth today in Louisiana (USA) and turned into a tropical storm, although the authorities requested extreme caution due to the threat of flooding.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Barry reached land Saturday about 10 kilometers northeast of Intercoastal City and 50 kilometers southwest of Lafayette, Louisiana.
According to the 6 pm GMT newsletter of the NHC, the tropical storm had winds of 70 miles per hour (about 113 kilometers per hour); it moved northwestward at 6 miles per hour (9.5 kilometers / hour); and a turn towards north-northwest is expected tonight, followed by another turn north on Sunday.
Despite its weakening on landfall, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned at a news conference shortly after Barry reached the Louisiana coast that "this is just the beginning."
"I ask everyone to remain alert and safe, this has always been predicted as an event of flooding by rain, most of the rainfall is now falling on the Gulf Coast (of Mexico)," he said.
The governor stressed that there are currently 3,000 active National Guard personnel to respond to the emergency in Louisiana.
"There are going to be several long days in our state," he predicted.
One of the populations that may be most affected in Louisiana by its location is Morgan City, a town of 12,000 inhabitants near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
"At the moment there is not much water falling in the city, as has been predicted, most of the rains are being for the moment (offshore) in the gulf," said the mayor of Morgan City, Frank Grizzaffi, to Efe phone.
Grizzaffi pointed out that the winds are not being very strong either, although he explained that one of his main concerns is the fall of trees and that the rain will collapse the city's water drainage system, which could cause flooding.
"We have placed some more water pumps to drain it but if it rains too much we will not have the capacity to drain it all," said the mayor.
According to their data, at least 50% of the inhabitants of Morgan City are without electricity.
About 112.5 kilometers south of New Orleans, the residents of Morgan City, which is virtually isolated by being surrounded by lakes, rivers and swamps, have barricaded themselves in their homes with sandbags.
"This type of events are not foreign to us, although we have not suffered a hurricane for ten years, we have had them close during this time," said the mayor.
In his last press conference at 02:00 GMT Sunday, Governor Edwards stressed that the storm "is still moving too slowly," but that "there is still a significant amount of rain on the way, and heavy rains tonight."
"We're expecting flooding in the southern part of Louisiana," said Edwards, who said there may be flooding in the New Orleans area and could threaten human lives.
In its latest bulletin, the NHC noted that Barry continues to move north-northwest at about 8 miles per hour (13 kilometers per hour) and is scheduled to continue through the night.
The storm will move through the central part of Louisiana tonight and Sunday north, toward Arkansas where it is expected to arrive tomorrow at the last minute.
Although the wind speed has decreased with the passing of the hours, the NHC warned that the combination of the storm with the tide can cause areas near the coast to flood.
The hurricane season in the Atlantic basin officially began on June 1, but earlier, on May 20, a subtropical storm, "Andrea", was formed in south-east Bermuda, which weakened immediately and caused no damage.
According to the updated forecast of the Colorado State University (CSU). released this week, the activity of the current hurricane season in the Atlantic will be "almost average", with 14 tropical storms, six of which would become hurricanes, the first of them Barry.
Louisiana suffered the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused more than 1,800 deaths, especially in the city of New Orleans.
(tagsToTranslate) Barry (t) Louisiana (t) storm (t) tropical (t) floods