New Orleans faces a triple threat of flooding from Tropical Storm Barry, currently forecast to hit the Louisiana coast in the early hours of Saturday morning, local time.
Already flooded from torrential rain on Wednesday, the city now faces more heavy rain, a surge in sea level as the storm comes ashore, and flooding from the Mississippi River, which is still swollen after record flooding earlier this year upstream.
“Look, there are three ways that Louisiana floods: storm surge, high rivers and rain,” Governor John Bel Edwards said on Thursday. “We’re going to have all three.
This map shows the anticipated track and the likelihood of hurricane force winds from Barry. The cone around the most likely track indicates the uncertainty on the forecast — there’s a roughly two-thirds chance that the eye of the storm will keep within those bounds.
But wind isn’t the main concern with this storm. A much bigger problem will be the rain that the storm dumps on the coast when it makes landfall.
This map shows predicted rainfall over the coming week. Parts of Louisiana could face more than 10 inches of rain, exceeding the downpour that happened on Wednesday.
Use this map to track the immediate threat of rainfall over the next 24 hours. From Saturday onwards, the National Weather Service is predicting a high risk of flash flooding in and around New Orleans.
Heavy rain will also further swell the Mississippi River. The National Weather Service is predicting that at New Orleans, the river level will rise to two feet above its designated flood stage on Saturday.
One huge question for New Orleans is whether the city’s system of levees, infamously breached in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, will withstand rising water from the river and the sea. Barry could bring a storm surge of up to three feet.
This map shows storm surge and warnings and watches issued by the National Hurricane Center. As always, obey evacuation orders from local officials. See here for more information on the storm.