Barry Impacts: Sewer Systems Overflow in Alabama; More Flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana

Ron Brackett
Published: July 15, 2019

The storm that was once Hurricane Barry continued to add to the woes of an already waterlogged Mississippi and Louisiana on Monday, while in Alabama, the storm's rains overwhelmed sewer systems.

More than 250,000 gallons of sewage spilled from systems along Alabama's coasts. The Baldwin County Health Department said about 125,000 gallons spilled into D'Olive Creek in Daphne, Alabama. As much as 75,000 gallons of sewage was spilled into a ditch in Fairhope, while 8,000 gallons was discharged into Hollinger Creek in Bay Minette, according to the health department.

Across Mobile Bay, more than 80,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into three creeks in Mobile, according to the Mobile Area Water & Sewer System.

(MORE: Here's Why New Orleans Didn't Get 20 Inches of Rain

State officials warned people to stay out of the waterways and to thoroughly cook any seafood caught in them before eating it.

A man tries to bike through the flooding from the rains of storm Barry on LA Hwy 675 in New Iberia, Louisiana, Sunday, July 14, 2019.
(Henrietta Wildsmith/The Shreveport Times via AP)

Barry's rains also failed to wash away blue-green algae blooms that led to Mississippi closing all of its beaches, according to the Associated Press. Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Robbie Wilbur said water samples tested Sunday "indicated the continued presence of algal bloom."

The agency on July 7 closed the last two of 21 beaches along Mississippi's mainland Gulf Coast because of the cyanobacteria. Although the water is off limits, people can still be on the sand.

In Vicksburg, Mississippi, a driver barely escaped injury when a large tree fell on her car as she drove on Interstate 20 about 4 a.m. Monday, WAPT reported. Crews worked for several hours to remove the tree and reopen the interstate.

About 40 miles to the east, a car slid into a lake in Jackson, Mississippi, on Sunday evening because of slick roads, WAPT reported. A tow-truck driver working to remove the car said the driver had escaped injury.

Barry caused floodwaters to rise even higher on hundreds of square miles of Mississippi Delta farmland, WJTV reported. The backwater flooding began in February and has damaged more than 500 homes and other structures in Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren counties.

Billy Davis spread wooden pallets around his home in Sharkey County to walk on after the water engulfed his yard again.

“It’s hard because we have a lot of snakes and you know it doesn’t make coming outside fun at all,” Davis said. “We have alligators floating around in our yard, but we’ve been trying and it’s been working so far.”

(MORE: Barry's Long, Strange Trip

Much of Louisiana and Mississippi was under flash-flood watches, as were parts of Arkansas, eastern Texas, western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri.

A couple strolls down Lakeshore Drive along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain after it was flooded in the wake of Hurricane Barry on July 13, 2019 in Mandeville, Louisiana.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The heaviest rain early Monday morning was from southwest and central Louisiana to southwest Mississippi. More than a foot of rain had fallen just north of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Low-lying areas were starting to see flooding in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Dozens of roads were closed because of high water Monday morning in Allen, Beauregard and Calcasieu parishes in southwest Louisiana. The principal of Oakdale High School in Allen Parish shared photos of water inside the school. Parish officials said all Allen schools and the central office were closed because of high water, KPLC reported.

The station also reported that homes in Oberlin and Oakdale in Allen Parish were flooding.

More than 30,000 homes and businesses remained in the dark Monday evening across Louisiana and Mississippi, according to PowerOutage.us.

A hurricane for a brief time Saturday, Barry weakened to a tropical depression late Sunday afternoon. It was designated a post-tropical cyclone on Monday evening.

A possible tornado left damage in the Antioch area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to the east in Livingston Parish about 10:30 a.m. CDT Sunday, WBRZ reported.

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Earlier Sunday, soggy ground and high winds led to downed trees in parts of southern Mississippi, where several tornado warnings were issued.

Water recedes from around a fish camp following Hurricane Barry on July 14, 2019 in Wilkerson Bayou, Louisiana.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Late Saturday, a family of five had to be plucked from their flooded home by National Guard troops in the south Louisiana town of Franklin, KTBS-TV.

Earlier Saturday, Barry caused at least three levees to overtop in parishes south of New Orleans, prompting evacuation orders. Most of those were lifted by Sunday afternoon.

There were numerous reports of downed trees and power lines throughout southern Louisiana, as well as some localized flooding.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Sunday the city was "beyond lucky" that rainfall there fell well short of early predictions of a deluge that could overwhelm the city's pumping systems.

"We were spared," she said at a news conference, while noting the city was ready to help nearby parishes hit harder.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards thanked the public for taking officials' warnings seriously over the weekend, but he also reminded residents that it is still relatively early in the Atlantic's hurricane season.

"Based on what we've experienced, I think (we will be) even better prepared for next time — and we do know that there will be a next time," Edwards said.


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