New Orleans Faces Major Flooding From Tropical Storm Barry

Terrian Jones feels something move in the water as she brings these two boys to their mother during the storm in New Orleans on July 10, 2019.
Photo: AP

Tropical Storm Barry just officially formed this morning, but water is already bearing down on New Orleans. The situation looks bad, to say the least, and we at Earther will be following it closely as the city and state of Louisiana prepare for what is forecasted to become a hurricane by the weekend.

New Orleans, known for its jazz and po’boys, started flooding yesterday ahead of the tropical storm system that’s still getting organized in the Gulf. The surrounding region is expected to receive up to 20 inches more of rain through the weekend, in addition to facing the threat of river flooding and overtopped levees. So far, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has issued a state of emergency, and officials have begun to close floodgates in and around New Orleans. More than 200 should be closed by Friday, reports the Times-Picayune.

The National Weather Service isn’t expecting the storm to become all that strong in terms of wind speeds, but damage isn’t just about how much the wind manages to blow around. It’s about the water, too, as Louisiana is already seeing. The storm should become a hurricane by Saturday.

The coast is already under hurricane watch. Mandatory evacuations are underway in Plaquemines Parish, which hugs the water. A third of the region’s oil production has shut down, reports Reuters, as industry prepares for the impending storm. Gasoline prices rose a bit as a result.

Experts are having to warn residents to stay clear of the floodwaters as they could carry harmful toxins or chemicals. Plus, sewers are already backing up, and that water has nowhere to go but up. Public health is always a concern when these type of weather events occur as industrial facilities often become compromised. But what’s really at stake this time around are the city’s levees, which failed when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

You can thank soon-to-be Tropical Storm Barry for all that water.
Photo: AP

The Mississippi River should crest at about 20 feet Friday night, but some levees in the Lower Ninth Ward sit below that, according to the Times-Picayune. As luck would have it, the Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the nation’s levees, doesn’t have the $1.9 billion needed to repair the systems that were damaged in the Midwest after the spring flooding it saw earlier this year. Soon to be tropical storm Barry is pushing the water levels in our nation’s rivers even higher, per E&E News.

Earther will be issuing updates as the situation unfolds.

Update, 11 a.m. ET: Tropical Storm Barry is official. The National Weather Service announced that the disturbance has upgraded to a tropical storm, bringing it one step closer to a hurricane. Wind speeds have reached 40 miles per hour, and waters are rising. A tornado or two may even appear between tonight and Friday in southern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The article’s text has been updated to reflect the fact that Barry is now a named tropical storm.


more recommended stories

  • Joshua Trees Are Being Wiped Out by Climate Change

    RIP, friends.Photo: Getty Climate change is.

  • The U.S. Is Set to Roast This Week Under a Potentially Record-Setting Heat Wave

    The only thing worse than the.

  • Another Thing Killing Coral Reefs: Our Poop

    Photo: Greg McFall (NOAA) It’s no.

  • Judge Slashes Payout in Roundup Lawsuit, But Calls Monsanto’s Conduct ‘Reprehensible’

    Roundup on sale in San Francisco,.

  • Now-Tropical Depression Barry Mostly Spares New Orleans, But Flood Risk Remains High

    Barry Williams wading through storm surge.

  • Your Binge-Watching of Netflix and Porn Is Contributing to Millions of Tons of Emissions a Year

    Most days when I get home.

  • A Blackbird Blowing ‘Smoke’ Rings Wins Top Prize at the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

    Whoa.Photo: Kathrin Swoboda (Audobon Photography Awards).

  • Paradise, California, Has Lost More Than 90 Percent of Its Residents Since Last Year’s Deadly Fire

    The remnants of the deadly Camp.

  • The Science Behind Tropical Storm Barry’s Potentially Catastrophic Flooding

    Photo: AP If there is one.

  • Russian Coal Plant Tells Instagrammers to Please Stop Taking Selfies in Its Pollution-Filled Waste Dump

    The turquoise water of a lake.

  • AOC and Bernie Sanders Are Asking Congress to Declare a Climate Emergency

    Photo: AP Governments declaring climate emergencies.

  • That Big California Earthquake Left a Scar That’s Visible From Space

    Friday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake near Ridgecrest,.

  • It’s Raining Inside the Metro as Flash Floods Rage Across Washington DC

    Washington, D.C. commuters came back to.

  • Austria on the Verge of Becoming First EU Country to Ban Controversial Roundup Herbicide

    A popular herbicide currently in use.

  • Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake in Southern California Is Second Major Quake in Two Days

    A liquor store in Ridgecrest, California.

  • How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Wrecking the Planet

    Summertime is officially here, baby. You.

  • The Weather Machine Reveals How the Forecast Is Made—and Why It’s Now Threatened

    Photo: AP The weather forecast is.

  • Calculation Shows We Could Add a U.S.-Sized Forest to the Planet to Fight Climate Change

    Photo: Getty Trees are good for.

  • More Than a Million Ordered to Evacuate as Southern Japan Braces for a Month of Rain in a Single Day

    The fallout from last year’s floods.

  • Last Month Was the Hottest June Ever Recorded, European Satellite Data Shows

    Photo: AP The planetary heat bender.

  • Meet the People Risking Their Lives to Study Our Dying Mountain Glaciers

    Extreme Field WorkA series about how.

  • Alaska Is Hot and on Fire

    Smoky haze from a wildfire on.

  • Airplane Contrails Have Surprising Effect on the Atmosphere

    The climate impact of flying isn’t.

  • Everyone Flopped on Climate Change During the First Democratic Debates

    Raise your hand if you want.

  • Scientists Find Dozens of Lakes Buried Far Below Greenland’s Ice

    Meltwater forms on top of the.

  • France Just Obliterated Its All-Time Heat Record

    Image: NASA WorldView France has never.

  • Wildfire Explodes in Spain as Europe Reels From Record Heat

    A burned landscape in Torre de.

  • The Gateway Protecting the Arctic’s Oldest Sea Ice Has Collapsed Months Ahead of Schedule

    The Nares Strait, open for business.

  • Big Little Lies Asks Whether Some Kids Are Too Young to Learn About Climate Change

    Following the incident, the school held.

  • Longest Oil Spill in U.S. History May Be 900 Times Larger Than Originally Estimated

    This March 31, 2015, aerial file.

  • A Potentially Record Setting Heat Wave Is About to Scorch Europe

    Photo: AP Last year’s climate change-fueled.

  • City Dwellers Could Be Key to Saving Monarch Butterflies From Extinction

    Monarchs in Chicago!Photo: Abigail Derby Lewis.