Tropical Storm Barry Impacts: Evacuation Orders Lifted in Louisiana; Flooding Remains a Threat in Storm's Path

Pam Wright and Jan Wesner Childs
Published: July 13, 2019

As the storm that was once Hurricane Barry continued to move inland Sunday, communities still in its path were being lashed with heavy rainfall.

A hurricane for a brief time Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said Barry had weakened to a tropical depression late Sunday afternoon, when its maximum sustained winds dropped below 40 mph.

The storm caused at least three levees to overtop in parishes south of New Orleans Saturday afternoon, prompting evacuation orders. Most of those orders were lifted by Sunday afternoon and shelters were beginning to shut down.

There were numerous reports of downed trees and power lines throughout southern Louisiana, as well as some localized flooding. The storm spawned several tornado warnings around Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday and heavy rainfall along the Mississippi coast.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or major injuries.

The parish president of Lafourche Parish issued a recommended evacuation order for residents in Point Aux Chenes due to water overtopping a levee in that area at around 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official Mark Wingate told reporters on a conference call Saturday evening that authorities “see no concerns at all about (water) overtopping the Mississippi River levees” that protect the city of New Orleans.

Earlier in the day, a 4-mile section of the Lower Dularge East Levee was overtopping in Terrebonne Parish, which prompted a mandatory evacuation for about 400 people living along Louisiana Highway 315 and Brady Road below or south of Falgout Canal, according to Angela Hidalgo, administrative manager of the Terrebonne Levee District.

Hidalgo told weather.com the section overtopping was the lowest part of the levee, at about 7 feet. Other parts of the levee have been lifted to 12 feet.

"We did do a lot of work on the northern part of it and it fared very well," Hidalgo said. "We were just kind of hoping we could get something in the lower part done before we had a tropical event, but we didn't quite make it."

Another levee was overtopping in several places in Plaquemines Parish and is one of two in the parish not reinforced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, although funding was allocated for the levee.

The situation had eased by Saturday night and some residents who were under a mandatory evacuation order were allowed to return home, an employee with the parish's emergency management office told weather.com.

Water overtops a levee in Plaquemines Parish.
(Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Department)

(MORE: Latest Tropical Storm Barry Forecast

Extensive flooding was reported from Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana, early Saturday.

"The waves from the lake are crashing onto the land as if it is all one big lake," resident Ludovico Torri told CNN. "The water is rising, too. In the last hour and a half, the water is up a foot. We’re stuck in the house with four kids and the car is almost flooding."

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued several stranded people early Saturday.

Mart Black, Terrebonne Parish Homeland Security spokesperson, told the Associated Press at least 11 people and a cat were successfully rescued from Isle de Jean Charles in Terrebonne Parish and taken unharmed to a shelter in Houma, Louisiana.

The Coast Guard mounted an air rescue because strong winds prevented any attempt by sea.

“They could not land on the island because of the high water and it’s heavily wooded," Black told The Weather Channel.

The Coast Guard noted that they had received other calls from people stranded on the island that has been without power since Friday.

The narrow stretch of land is located about 45 miles from Houma. The only road into the community is reportedly impassable because of high water. The island was under a voluntary evacuation advisory.

The storm forced the cancellation of all flights into and out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, as well as the majority of flights at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. Some flights resumed Saturday night into New Orleans, and the airport announced that most flights should operate as planned Sunday.

More than 128,000 homes and businesses were without power Saturday afternoon, including half of Assumption Parish, west of New Orleans, according to PowerOutage.us. Most of those remained without power into Saturday night.

High water closed numerous roadways, including Highway 51 between the I-55 interchanges in Laplace and Ruddock near New Orleans and Louisiana 1 in Lafourche Parish.

A mobile home was crushed in Patterson, Louisiana, Saturday after a large tree fell. No injuries were reported.

St. Charles Parish officials has asked residents to limit sewer usage as much as possible.

“If you don’t need to wash clothes, don’t. If you don’t need to flush toilets, don’t flush toilets,” parish spokeswoman Adrienne Bourgeois told the Advocate Saturday morning.

The storm made landfall early afternoon Saturday near Intracoastal City.


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