As for our local weather, weatherTAP’s RadarLab shows a now stalled out “cold” front just to our west. This is setting off showers and storms but they remain mostly along and south of I-40. That trend should continue for the rest of the afternoon. That red line you see on the left of the image is the forecast track of Barry.
Speaking of Barry….
In a press conference this afternoon, emergency management officials said that all flood gates will be closed to the city of New Orleans for the first time in that city’s history. The Mississippi River is normally at about 6-8 feet this time of year. Today, it is at 16 feet and that is due mostly to record flooding in the Midwest this past spring.
Evacuations are not being strongly encouraged because Barry remains a tropical storm. They still haven’t learned that the water is what kills, not the wind. An odd lesson to have not learned for a city that sits mostly below sea level. It is truly an unbelievable situation but one that doesn’t surprise me too much.
When I worked for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency we had to help New Orleans evacuate for Hurricane Gustav. This was several years after Katrina. It was an absolute nightmare. I could tell you stories all day. It quickly became apparent that nothing had been learned from Katrina.
Let’s just keep these folks close to our hearts. I know some of them can’t afford to evacuate and that really is sad. Let’s just hope and pray the flood walls and gates don’t fail. That the pumps don’t malfunction. That the Mississippi River doesn’t come over the walls (which would be a first for the city). That people don’t try to leave in the middle of the storm (what a mess that would be!).
I just read that the National Guard is sending 300 buses to New Orleans in case an evacuation is decided upon. What a disaster. The rain is already falling. It would be so dangerous/foolish to wait and evacuate in the middle of the storm.
Aren’t you glad you live in Tennessee? We should be very proud to have the best emergency management agency in the country? I worked there and I can tell you that’s the truth! Don’t take that for granted.
Barry remains a strong tropical storm, with winds of 65 mph. The storm is expected to be a minimal hurricane when it makes landfall Saturday morning.
Here is the latest water vapor imagery. At times, the amount of vapor is off the scale and can’t even be measured. Some locations in Louisiana are forecast to receive at least two feet of rainfall.