LIVE UPDATES: Tropical Storm Barry creeps north; tornado warning issued

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This is a continuation of WWL-TV’s live blog with the latest update on Hurricane Barry in the Gulf of Mexico, the first major named storm of the 2019 hurricane season.

For updates from the City of New Orleans on the storm, text Barry to 888-777

Saturday, July 13:

– 7:53 p.m. – Tornado warning canceled for Jefferson Parish remains in effect for Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.

– 7:50 p.m. – A very heavy rain band is moving north through parts of Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.  

-7:35 p.m. – TORNADO WARNING issued for Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines until 8:15 p.m.

– 7:20 p.m. – Tropical Storm Barry winds decrease down to 60 mph and pressure has risen, according to the National Hurricane Center. Motion is a little faster at 8 mph to the NNW. Convection offshore has also weakened considerably. Some bands of heavy rain are possible, but widespread flooding doesn’t look likely. 

– 7 p.m. – WWL-TV has switched off our continuous coverage of Tropical Storm Barry, and the station is returning to regularly scheduled programming unless there are unexpected developments with the storm overnight. 

– 6:54 p.m. – RTA service will be suspended through Sunday in New Orleans. Service is expected to resume as normal Monday morning.

– 6:40 p.m. – Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority East has announced they will begin working to reopen several key floodgates in St. Bernard and Orleans parishes. 

In St. Bernard Parish, the Highway 39,  Highway 46 and LA 300 gates, as well as all river gates, will be opened. 

In Orleans Parish, the Highway 90 gate and several key river gates along the cruise terminal (Poydras to Felicity) will be opened alongside several rail line gates for CSX, Public Belt and Norfolk Southern.

– 6:34 p.m. – Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine lifted the mandatory evacuation for the Eastbank of the parish Saturday. The order will take effect at 8 p.m. and residents will be allowed back to their homes. 

Parish officials warned residents that the floodgate may still be closed when they return, and motorists might have to use the bypass road. 

The Belle Chasse /Scarsdale Ferry will begin operations again as well. 

– 6:29 p.m. – The New Orleans Museum of Art has announced they will reopen for normal operation Sunday as Tropical Storm Barry begins to weaken after making landfall Saturday morning. 

– 6:26 p.m. – Jefferson Parish officials said residents should still expect another six to eight inches of rain from Tropical Storm Barry before it is expected to weaken into a tropical depression Sunday. 

The parish’s emergency operations center will operate at “partial activation” from 7 p.m. onward before shutting down Sunday at 7 a.m. 

– 6:19 p.m. – After the sun goes down Saturday, New Orleans residents should brace for showers throughout the night as the bands from Tropical Storm Barry make their way through the city. 

– 6:15 p.m. – Terrebonne Parish officials said they believe tropical storm-force winds will abate around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, as the parish continues to face flooding and stormy conditions. 

– 6:03 p.m. – 

– 5:54 p.m. – The Coast Guard is set up in Slidell, preparing for potential flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Barry’s heavy rainfall. 

City of Slidell, Louisiana added a new photo.

– 5:44 p.m. – Crews are working to plug up one of the gaps in the flood wall at West Point A La Hache in Plaquemines Parish after water rushed through the hole earlier in the day. 

– 5:40 p.m. – Well that’s one way to get around in the storm…

– 5:25 p.m. – We’ve seen plenty of animals fleeing from Tropical Storm Barry, ranging from the cute to the downright creepy. 

You can see all of them by clicking here. 

– 5:20 p.m. – If you have questions about Tropical Storm Barry, you can call our Tracking Barry hotline at 504-529-6450 for answers. 

– 5:17 p.m. – Any port in a storm: this mouse is the latest animal we’ve seen doing whatever it can to stay above the floodwaters as Tropical Storm Barry moves inland. 

– 4:59 p.m. – A recommended evacuation has been issued for the Pointe-Aux-Chenes area of Lafourche Parish due to overtopping of the levee in that area. 

Impacted residents are encouraged to go to the shelter at the Raceland Recreation Center, located at 241 Recreation Drive.  

You can see all the areas under evacuation orders by clicking here.

– 4:39 p.m. – Louisiana State Police arrested a man after a rollover crash on I-10 which led to the discovery of 40 grams of cocaine in his vehicle. 

Officials are urging Louisiana residents to avoid the roadways if possible. 

Read more about the crash here.

– 4:29 p.m. – If there wasn’t a tropical storm bearing down on the city, it would be a pleasant day in New Orleans. 

– 4:26 p.m. – Tropical Storm Barry continues pushing north through Louisiana as the state prepares for heavier rain brought in by the heavy tail end of the storm. 

The latest predictions show the storm will continue moving in a northwestern direction through Saturday before heading directly north on Sunday.

– 4:17 p.m. – Around 3,000 Entergy customers in Orleans Parish are without power. The total number of people without power has dropped to an estimated 71,000 as hundreds of Entergy workers try to bring service back to residents impacted by Tropical Storm Barry. 

– 3:55 p.m. – St. Tammany Parish has opened three shelters for people in low-lying areas of the parish that could be flooded as Tropical Storm Barry moves through the area. 

The shelters are located at:

  • Covington High -73030 lions drive Covington
  • Lee road Jr. High –  79131 Highway 40 (Lee Road), Covington
  • Pearl River High School 39110 Rebel Lane, Pearl River

– 3:36 p.m. – Anybody looking for information about sheltering should call 211 or text LASHELTER to 898211 for the most current sheltering information.

– 3:26 p.m. – Metairie residents have been left in the dark about when their power would be restored. Entergy says it might be hours – but it might be days. 

Ed. Note: Story continues below the video

– 3:15 p.m. – Slidell police have shut down all vehicle traffic going in and out of the Palm Lake subdivision and Camellia Drive. 

– 2:55 p.m. –The city of Kenner has declared a state of emergency ahead of heavy rain caused by Tropical Storm Barry. 

The city is the latest area to declare a state of emergency, after the state of Louisiana, several parishes and the city of New Orleans declared states of emergency ahead of the storm. 

– 2:41 p.m. – The West Closure Complex in Belle Chasse, known as the largest pumping station in the world, will turn on its pumps today at 3:30 p.m. in preparation for Tropical Storm Barry.

– 2:37 p.m. – The latest from lower Dularge, where a levee overtopping has forced a mandatory evacuation order: the levee has not broken, but water has gotten high enough to climb over the levee wall. 

– 2:35 p.m. – According to the mayor of Morgan City, where Tropical Storm Barry made landfall as a hurricane, the entire city has no power. 

– 2:25 p.m. – What appears to be two major, gaping holes in a back levee near West Pointe a la Hache are sending water towards Highway 23 in Terrebonne Parish. 

While this is not the levee that protects the parish from the Mississippi River, if the road floods, the southern half of the parish will be cut off from the rest of the area by floodwaters. 

Watch water pour through the gaps in the levee by clicking here.  

– 2:16 p.m. – As part of our coverage of Tropical Storm Barry, we’re taking you behind the scenes using  Facebook Live interviews with the reporters who are on the front lines throughout the state. 

Paul Dudley sat down with Jade Cunningham to talk about his 12-hour shift reporting on the storm, the dangers of flooding roads and the kindness of people caught up in the storm. 

Ed. Note: Story continues below the video

– 2:07 p.m. – Coast Guard officials warned residents that Tropical Storm Barry would force their search and rescue teams to land as it moves across the state, crippling the response times for first responders if people are trapped by floodwater. 

The Coast Guard has 20 crews and aircraft staged in Houston, Texas; Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans prepared to assist in search and rescue operations. 

A spokesman for the organization said the late arrival of the storm’s major rains would also complicate rescue efforts because heavy rain is likely to fall overnight, when the darkness increases safety concerns for the crews. 

– 2:01 p.m. – The latest update from Entergy is that there is no update. Around 74,000 people across the state are without power. Crews remain unable to access electrical equipment because of flooding and high winds, especially through much of southern Louisiana. 

– 1:52 p.m. – Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Terrebonne Parish. 

All areas along LA Highway 315 and Brady Road below or south of Falgout Canal have been ordered to evacuate. This mandatory evacuation is necessary due to the overtopping of the Lower Dularge East Levee.

– 1:36 p.m. – City crews have cleared 60 tons of debris from catch basins throughout New Orleans since Wednesday’s storm. 

– 1:29 p.m. – For those asking, the levees overtopping in Myrtle Grove are NOT part of the federal levee system. 

– 1:20 p.m. – Here’s the latest update on Tropical Storm Barry, based on new data from the National Hurricane Center. The WWL-TV meteorology team broke down the new information live on Channel 4:

– 1:13 p.m. – Roads continue to clear out ahead of torrential rain expected from Tropical Storm Barry as it passes through Louisiana. 

Residents are prepared for anywhere between six and 20 inches of water in different areas around the state. 

– 12:50 p.m. – Barry has weakened back to a tropical storm after making landfall Saturday morning. 

Heavy rains are still expected as the storm moves inland. 

– 12:30 p.m. – Flood Authority East is urging residents who have parked in front of floodgates to move their cars, because they will begin opening some of the floodgates when officials deem it safe to do so, and cars parked in front of the gates cause public safety issues. 

– 12:22 p.m. – The latest from Terrebonne Parish: 

– 12:15 p.m. – Hurricane Barry is bringing a slight relief from the summer heat ahead of a deluge of rain. 

– 12:05 p.m. – The Archdiocese of New Orleans is excusing Catholics from mass on Sunday because of Hurricane Barry.  

– Noon – After making a small amount of progress earlier in the morning, Entergy’s outage map confirmed that nearly 75,000 customers were without power throughout the state. 

Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes have the most people without power, with 17,000 and 12,000 customers in the dark respectively. 

Entergy has mobilized nearly 3,000 workers to troubleshoot issues, but many areas are inaccessible because of floodwater or high winds preventing crews from accessing power equipment. 

– 11:57 a.m. – Northshore residents are braving the floodwaters in Mandeville to take a look at the overflowing Lake Pontchartrain. 

Here’s a look at why going out to see the river or the lake could be dangerous for Northshore residents. 

– 11:44 a.m. – Residents in New Orleans were unhappy with the mayor’s decision not to distribute sandbags in the city ahead of Hurricane Barry. But Cantrell said the sand could interfere with the Sewerage & Water Board pumps.

But S&WB had to backtrack after a reporter tweeted a photo of sandbags barricading the front door to their main office. 

Read their explanation for the sandbags here.

– 11:38 a.m. – From the city of New Orleans press conference: 

– 11:35 a.m. – If you were planning to go to a Breaux Mart to get last-minute groceries, make other plans. The supermarket chain confirmed that all metro New Orleans locations would remain closed Saturday. 

They are currently set to reopen Sunday.  

– 11:30 a.m. – Well this is horrifying! Cockroaches were spotted in Manchac climbing and swimming to get out of the incoming water from Hurricane Barry. 

Ed. Note: Story continues below the video

– 11:17 a.m. – We’re not out of the woods yet, Mayor Latoya Cantrell said at a press conference giving an update on Hurricane Barry. 

“The primary risk continues to remain heavy rains for the city of New Orleans.” 

– 11:09 a.m. – Entergy officials have brought power back online for 5,000 people, dropping the number of customers without power throughout the state to 58,000.

Crews are unable to access certain areas due to flooding, and cannot use baskets to reach hanging wires if winds are above 30 mph. Hurricane Barry has brought winds of nearly 70 mph to areas throughout the state.  

– 11:06 a.m. – 

For everything before 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, click here.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. Saturday advisory that Barry had reached maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, with higher gusts.

Hurricane-force winds were measured some 45 miles to the east of the storm’s center, which was located 40 miles south of Lafayette, Louisiana. It was moving northwest at 6 mph.

Weather forecasters said a hurricane warning is in effect for Intracoastal City to Grand Isle. Such a warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area.

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