Transcript for Tropical Storm Barry nears Louisiana
We have a lot to get to. Let's take a live look at that tropical storm bearing down on the gulf coast right now. Packing up to two feet of rain with very real threat of massive flooding in the area and here's what it looks like from space. It is a massive storm. The president declared a state of emergency in Louisiana. We're going to begin with ginger tracking the storm. She has the latest on its path. Good morning. Good morning, George. Rain, rain, life-threatening rain. If you didn't hear that from my forecast, I would be in trouble because you need to know about tropical storm Barry which right now most of the convex out in the gulf of Mexico, the center about 100 miles south of new Orleans. It should make landfall tomorrow just west of New Orleans which puts New Orleans in one of the worst places it could possibly be. Makes its way up by Tuesday into, say, Tennessee and Kentucky but it's Lafayette, Baton Rouge, up to 25 inches of rain could fall. That's when we're starting to talk about a plugged up Mississippi river. Lots of levees that will be challenged and we've got the timing of the storm. I really wanted to share with you this because it's not just, of course, the rain but you've got tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings in place because, Cecilia, you could have storm surge on order of three to six feet and tornadoes. Over to rob Marciano there in New Orleans where a state of emergency has been declared. Good morning, rob. Good morning, Cecilia. The center of Barry about 100 miles in that direction as ginger pointed out. The back side of this thing is really where the most rain and wind is. We are most concerned with the rain and the surge coming up this river. The Mississippi, which has never been this high with a tropical storm about to hit. Overnight tropical storm Barry gaining strength. Its winds picking up speed as it creeps closer to the Louisiana coast. We were flying at this same time yesterday. The storm was substantially weaker. It certainly seems more active from a thunderstorm position. Awful lot of rainfall, a lot of lightning. Reporter: Now thousands are protecting their property before Barry makes landfall. We're hoping everything will be okay and life and property will stay safe. Reporter: In New Orleans, residents are just recovering from floodwaters swallowing the city Wednesday. Authorities are prompting residents to make a plan to shelter in place for yet another round. You need to have at least 72 hours of medication for everyone in the house including your pets. Reporter: Authorities closing hundreds of floodgates around Nola as eyes turn to the levees. The midst river is already engorged and with a tropical storm threatening up to two feet of rain and a six-foot-high storm surge the river is expected to crest at 19 feet, just inches from the top of the levees. Miles of these levees protect the city but look how close the water is to the top and this wind is only going to get worse. Hurricane storm surge being pushed upriver, essentially stopping the flow lifting the levels and potentially sending water right into downtown. But the army corps of engineers says even if the levees are overtopped they will not fail. We are confident we are not going to have a duplicate of Katrina, however, if you have a storm that has elevations much higher than the floodwalls you'll get water in the city. And that is the wild card here. How high does this river get and forecasting river levels is far from exact. Especially when you're dealing with rainfall on top of the storm surge, what we'll see here. Now, what we have off to my left, that's the French quarter. Off to my right that is downtown and these levees are not this high all around the city. Certainly not in the communities down to our south in plaquemines parish where they are evacuating right now and not T what's going to happen in the capital city of Baton Rouge with memories fresh of 2016, tremendous amount of rain coming with this system, not just here but across the entire eastern part of the state and far inland and it's a slow mover so this is going to be a long weekend across the south.
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