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Louisiana declares state of emergency ahead of potential hurricane landfall

Potential Tropical Storm Barry will likely bring storm surge, hurricane-force winds and up to 15 inches of rain across Louisiana.
Credit: Kevin Dupuy

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana has declared a state of emergency as residents on the coast brace for the landfall of a potential hurricane this weekend.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tropical Storm Barry will likely bring storm surge, hurricane-force winds and up to 15 inches of rain across Louisiana.

"This is going to be a Louisiana event with coastal flooding and widespread, heavy rainfall potentially impacting every part of the state,” said Gov. Edwards. “No one should take this storm lightly."

Edwards urged residents to check their supplies at home and continue to monitor local media for weather updates.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, Tropical Storm Barry has strengthened slightly with winds of 50 mph, although these are not at the center of circulation, which remains very broad. 

Pressure is the same and motion is nearly stationary; to the west at 3 mph. Dry air over the center and strong northerly wind shear are preventing thunderstorms from developing around Barry’s center and also preventing the circulation from becoming more tightly wound. 

It’s possible that Barry will remain very lop-sided up to landfall. Models continue to steadily strengthen and organize Barry prior to landfall, that just is not happening at the moment. 

The Euro model seems to be the best at initializing, with the thunderstorms currently in the southern half of the storm. The Euro doesn’t bring the heaviest rain to the eastern side of Barry until just after landfall. At that point, the heaviest rain would be from Baton Rouge, westward. 

The Euro predicts 3-6” of rain over the weekend for our viewing area, with 10+ west of us. All eyes will be on when, if at all, Barry begins a turn toward the north. If soon, we are more under the heaviest rain threat. If later, like the Euro says, the heaviest rain stays farther west. Flooding is still our greatest concern at this time.

The state of emergency will last from July 10 to August 8, unless terminated sooner.

"My office is in constant communication with FEMA and we will continue to provide updates as necessary," Edwards said.

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Stay with Eyewitness News on WWL-TV and WWLTV.com for more on this developing story.

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