Tropical Depression Barry hit the Gulf Coast hard yesterday, as rain pounded down on the region, leaving swamped roads and homes in its wake. Now, it continues to move north, at just nine miles per hour, tormenting the already inundated central US and spiking concerns for flooding in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, southeast Missouri, and western Tennessee.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting flash floods, storm surge, and river breaching while the National Weather Service cautioned that tornadoes were possible in southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, western Alabama, eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee.
While, fortunately, New Orleans was spared, others were not so lucky, and at least 75,000 households and businesses in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, losing power, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Officials have reported that the Louisiana National Guard deployed almost 3,000 personnel throughout the state.
Barry has the infamous honor of being the first hurricane in this 2019 season; it is also only the fourth in 168 years to make landfall on the Louisiana coast in July. Hurricane season is usually the strongest from mid-August to late October, though it officially starts June 1 and is over by November 30.
Many residents heeded advice to evacuate, and CNN reports that over 300 people arrived to shelters in Louisiana as Tropical Storm Barry approached landfall. Unfortunately, the worst has yet to come, according to CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers. "Ninety-five percent of this storm is still in the Gulf of Mexico, even though the center of the storm is on land. The northern half of this storm has never had a lot of activity with it, but now as the storm moves to the north, guess where the southern half is going to be? Right over parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama." These states should continue to expect rain and prepare for flooding, evacuating when necessary.