Residents fear that due to heavy rains the Mississippi River may come out of the banks.
Excited residents of New Orleans prepared to evacuate due to the approach of tropical storm “Barry,” which should hit the city on Saturday, opening the season of Atlantic hurricanes.
Meteorologists warn that before the storm, heavy rains and floods are possible.
The storm thickened over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning, showing a maximum stable wind speed of 64 km/h. On the Eve of the approaching storm, heavy rains fell on New Orleans: according to the National meteorological service, the city fell to 30 cm of precipitation.
On Thursday, a tropical storm warning was issued for New Orleans and the surrounding area, and a hurricane warning was issued for the Louisiana coast south of the city. Later, the meteorological service reported an increase in the wind to 72 km/h.
The storm disrupted oil and gas production enterprises along the Gulf. Energy companies have cut production in the region by more than half and evacuated people from more than 200 offshore facilities and a coastal oil refinery.
Some residents, recalling the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina in 2005, which claimed some 1,800 lives in the region, decided that it would be safer to leave. The threat of flooding along the Mississippi River, which runs through the very center of the city, is a serious concern.
“We are concerned about the river, – says Betsy Hazard, who lives with her husband and two young children just a block from the river. – They say, in New Orleans, the river will not come out of the banks, but we have two children, 5 years and 10 months, so we do not want to risk.”
The danger is increased by the fact that the water level in the Mississippi for six months exceeds the flood. Heavy rains will only increase it, increasing the threat that water will flow through the walls of the dams, especially downstream, where the barriers are not so high.
Meteorologists promise that on Friday and Saturday on areas along the Gulf of Mexico will fall from 20 to 25 cm of rain.
“The more information we get, the more we worry that extreme rains are waiting for us, – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards Said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. – If tropical storm Barry becomes a hurricane, we will be in a situation where the state was hit by a hurricane at high water levels in the rivers for the first time.”
Edwards believes that by the time the storm reaches the coast, it will become a hurricane, and he will be assigned the first category on the Saffir – Simpson scale.