Tropical Storm Barry continues to strengthen and may become a Category 1 hurricane upon landfall this morning, bringing “life-threatening rainfall” and flooding to several parishes in south central Louisiana, officials said during a weather briefing on Friday.
Roger Erickson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said anywhere from 15 to 20 inches of rain is expected in St. Mary, Iberia and lower St. Martin parishes today through Sunday. He said residents in those areas who choose to ride out the storm may end up trapped because of flooding.
Lake Charles may get 4 to 6 inches of rain today, with 2 to 3 inches of rain expected in Beaumont, Erickson said.
Erickson said Southwest Louisiana residents should remain on alert, as weaker storms have a tendency to be erratic and “wobble one way or another from one moment to the next.” A chart showed that NWS has “moderate confidence” in the storm’s track, intensity and impacts.
A more than 3-foot storm surge is expected along coastal areas of Vermilion, Iberia and St. Mary parishes, Erickson said.
Barry is expected to bring damaging winds that could cause power outages, blown down trees and potential damage to homes and businesses in the south central Louisiana area. The storm may produce isolated tornadoes in parts of south central Louisiana and central Louisiana.
Eastern Cameron Parish is under a Tropical Storm Warning, while Vermilion Parish is under a Hurricane warning.
Wind gusts of 58 to 73 miles per hour are expected in eastern Cameron Parish, Jennings, Oakdale and Alexandria. Calcasieu and Beauregard, Cameron, Allen and Jeff Davis parishes are expected to see tropical storm force winds this afternoon into the evening, Erickson said.
President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Tropical Storm Barry beginning on July 10, according to a news release from the White House Press Office late Thursday.
“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures,” the news release stated.
Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes are included in the declaration.
“Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency,” the news release stated. “Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.”