New Orleans and Louisiana escaped the brunt of Barry’s fury over the weekend, as the tropical storm was downgraded.
Despite losing its strength, Barry was still dumping heavy rain on parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and including Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Monday that Barry “could have played out very, very differently.” He was “thankful that the worst case scenario did not happen” even though they “were prepared for the risks, the threats that had been forecasted.”
However, communities across the Gulf Coast were asked to take precautions against tornado and flash flooding, as Barry continued to meander north.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Sunday afternoon that the city “made it through the storm, beyond lucky—we were spared.”
“The tropical storm threat, as you know, is over, but rain remains the possibility. The tropical storm warning and the storm surge warnings have all been cancelled,” said Cantrell.
She continued stating that the city would resume normal life Monday, including public transportation and garbage services.
Braced for impact
On Friday, New Orleans and coastal communities were bracing themselves for the worst of what to expect, possibly the first hurricane of the season, when tropical storm Barry’s wind and rain were gathering strength and starting to hit the southeast region of Louisiana.
A hurricane warning was in effect along the Louisiana coast—the Intracoastal City and Grand Isle. Weather forecasters said the storm could make landfall as a hurricane by early Saturday.
Edwards warned local communities on Friday to anticipate a Category 1 hurricane at landfall on Saturday morning, which would be in the central coastal area in and around Morgan City. He advised residents to check in for updates and advised everyone to pay attention to the track of the storm.
President Donald Trump issued a federal declaration of emergency for the state of Louisiana on Thursday night.
National Weather Service Meteorologist, Benjamin Schott, issued a last-minute warning on late Friday afternoon.
The biggest threat Barry posed was not the wind but the stormwater from the epic rainfall that could cause unprecedented flooding, said Ken Graham, the director of National Hurricane Center.
As Barry moved slowly inland at the speed of five miles per hour, some 10,000 residents in low-lying southern tip were ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
In New Orleans on Friday, as gusty wind approached, residents prepared and braced themselves for Barry’s landfall.
Hurricane Katrina survivor and New Orleans resident Georgina Mitchell was undecided if she would evacuate. “The thing that’s frightening is because our levees have breached before and the corps claim they’re better so you just have to go by what they say, said Mitchell.
“But it’s an eerie feeling. You don’t ever get comfortable until you know it’s over,” continued Mitchell, saying, “For people that stay in New Orleans and Louisiana, it’s fearful.”
Mitchell said, “We don’t like it but this is where we chose to live so this is what we have to live with.”
Across the street from Mitchell, another resident Christine Villines, who was not as worried said, “We’re not evacuating. We’re just going to ride it out. We’ve kind of taken the attitude that this is what we’ve signed up for. We live in New Orleans. This is what happens.”
Villines said she “can’t get scared every time something bad happens” and that perhaps “that’s my new, post-Katrina moving here, that I haven’t had that terrible situation happen,” she continued.
New Orleans did not order evacuations. But, city officials advised residents to have at least three days of supplies and to keep storm drains in their vicinity clear so that water can flow quickly.