Barry drenches Gulf Coast, heads north

  • Roadways and yards are flooded after heavy rain from Tropical Depression Barry fell in Lake Charles, La. Monday, July 15, 2019. Barry was downgraded from a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon, but its torrential rains continued to pose a threat Monday. Much of Louisiana and Mississippi were under flash-flood watches, as were parts of Arkansas, eastern Texas, western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri. (Kirk Meche/Lake Charles American Press via AP) Kirk Meche

  • Roads flood from the rains of Barry on LA Hwy 675 in New Iberia, La., Sunday. The Shreveport Times via AP

  • A man tries to bike through the flooding from the rains of storm Barry on LA Hwy 675 in New Iberia, La., Sunday, July 14, 2019. Tropical Depression Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf Coast states Sunday. (Henrietta Wildsmith/The Shreveport Times via AP) Henrietta Wildsmith

  • People walk on a street during a downpour at the French Quarter in New Orleans, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Tropical Depression Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf Coast states Sunday, sparing New Orleans from a direct hit but stoking fears elsewhere of flooding, tornadoes, and prolonged power outages. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP) STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD

  • East crews open a gate on the east side of the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal, also known as the Industrial Canal, at Hayne Boulevard in New Orleans, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Tropical Depression Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf Coast states Sunday, sparing New Orleans from a direct hit but stoking fears elsewhere of flooding, tornadoes, and prolonged power outages. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP) STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan speaks during a briefing about a storm system, in a visit to the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, Sunday, July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, left, speaks with FEMA personnel, as he gets information about a storm system, in a visit to the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, Sunday, July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, right, speaks with FEMA personnel, as he gets information about a storm system, in a visit to the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, Sunday, July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

  • This Sunday, July 14, 2019, image made from a cellphone video provided by the Mississippi Governor's Office shows the flooded welcome sign at the entrance to Eagle Lake community near Vicksburg, Miss. In a Monday, July 15, posting of the short video on Twitter, Gov. Phil Bryant made reference that "the South Delta has become an ocean," with the additional rainfall from Tropical Depression Barry, while calling on the federal government to build pumps to drain water from the confluence of... Bobby Morgan

Published: 7/15/2019 9:35:46 PM

NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Depression Barry spared New Orleans and Baton Rouge from catastrophic flooding, but even as it weakened and moved north through Arkansas, its trailing rain bands swamped parts of Louisiana with up to 17 inches of rain and transformed part of the Mississippi Delta into “an ocean.”

As of Monday evening, with the center of the storm about 105 miles northwest of Little Rock, the National Weather Service said flash flood watches remained in effect in southeast Texas through the lower Mississippi Valley.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to produce up to 4 inches of rain — and in isolated spots as much as 8 inches — across Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky, southeast Missouri, and northwest Mississippi.

No fatalities or serious injuries reported from Barry.

Some of the earliest fears that the storm posed didn’t play out: A shift in its path decreased the possibility of major Mississippi River levees being overtopped at New Orleans, where catastrophic levee breaches along canals devastated the city after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And the torrents of rain forecasters had said were possible — portending repeats of catastrophic Baton Rouge area flooding in 2016 — didn’t happen.

“This was a storm that obviously could have played out very, very differently,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We’re thankful that the worst-case scenario did not happen.”

But the storm was still a huge headache for many. Levees were overtopped along waterways in some coastal parishes. More than 90 people were rescued because of high water in at least 11 parishes, Edwards said.

And the problems persisted long after Saturday’s landfall — when Barry came ashore as a weak hurricane. Deluges hit parts of southwest Louisiana late Sunday into Monday morning.

Calcasieu Parish emergency director Dick Gremillion estimated northern parts of the parish got 17 inches in a few hours. Two people had to be rescued from swamped cars and 19 others were moved from residences threatened by high water, he said.

In Oakdale, Louisiana, Mayor Gene Paul estimated 14 inches fell overnight. He spent part of Monday gathering information on businesses and homes that took on water.

In Evangeline Parish, north of Lafayette, KLFY television showed scenes of water-covered streets and flooded cars in the town of Ville Platte.

For much of Monday a continuous line of showers extended from the southwest to the northeast.

“Please don’t drive through these flooded areas,” Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso pleaded with motorists.

“I noticed our rivers coming up real quick,” Mancuso said in an interview aired on KPLC-TV. “It’s just very serious right now.”

In Mississippi, forecasters said 8 inches of rain had fallen in parts of Jasper and Jones counties by Monday, with several more inches possible.

“The South Delta has become an ocean,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant wrote on Twitter on Monday.

He’s calling on the federal government to build pumps to drain water from the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers. The EPA shelved the project in 2008 amid concerns about wetlands and wildlife. The Trump administration has said it might reconsider that decision.

The Edison Electric Institute, a trade association, estimated that there were more than 325,000 power outages reported in multiple states over the course of the storm, and that about 33,000 remained without power as of Monday evening.

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Martin reported from Atlanta. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Jay Reeves in Mandeville; Rogelio Solis in Morgan City; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina.

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For the latest on Tropical Storm Barry, visit https://apnews.com/Hurricanes .




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