Tropical Storm Barry on Saturday morning hovered near Louisiana's coast ahead of its anticipated northward turn. The storm is expected to dump up to 20 inches on the state as it makes its way inland.
The storm briefly ramped up to a Category 1 hurricane around 10 a.m. before making landfall, but barely 3 hours later the storm's designation was dropped back to a strong tropical storm as its maximum sustained winds decreased slightly.
Most of Acadiana remains under a tropical storm warning.
All of Morgan City's residents were without power late Saturday afternoon. With about 80 percent of the city without power Saturday, the utility director decided to take the rest of the city’s customers offline, Mayor Frank Grizzaffi said in an online update.
The situation was assessed, he said, the problems were identified and city workers along with contract electrical workers will begin the task of restoring power after 6 p.m. if the wind subsides enough.
“We can’t be up in bucket trucks when you’ve got 30 mile per hour winds,” he said.
All Morgan City electric customers were without power Saturday afternoon after the winds of Hurricane Barry, since downgraded to a tropical st…
The New Iberia Police Department shut down all city roads just before 4 p.m. Saturday. Captain John Babin reported downed trees and power lines were making the roads too dangerous for drivers.
The number of power outages across Acadiana are increasing as Tropical Storm Barry continues its slow push inland.
SLEMCO reported over 1,300 customers were without power in Lafayette Parish, over 3,100 residents had power knocked out in St. Landry Parish, over 4,600 were without power in St. Martin Parish and over 440 customers were powerless in Vermilion Parish.
CLECO reported over 16,000 were without power in the New Iberia area, another 1,000 were out in Loreauville, more than 2,900 were powerless in Jeanerette and over 420 were without power in Breaux Bridge.
Entergy reported over 2,900 people had power knocked out in St. Martin Parish, with at least 1,600 of those customers in Henderson, and another 2,100 were without electricity in Iberia Parish.
St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff declared a mandatory evacuation for all residents along La. 317 south from the Intracoastal Bridge to Burns Point.
Hurricane Barry was downgraded back to a strong tropical storm after the system's sustained maximum winds declined to 70 mph. The slow-moving storm is still expected to produce heavy rainfall as it moves north over Lafayette and other areas of south Louisiana.
Staff writer Claire Taylor reports winds picking up along Highway 90 heading into Morgan City. Storm surge becoming evident at the Wax Lake outlet in St. Mary Parish.
The National Hurricane Center has officially designated Barry as a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum winds of 75 mph.
Power outages are being reported across Acadiana as the storm continues to make its way along the coast.
As of 9:50 a.m., CLECO reported 521 residents were without power in Opelousas, about 100 people were out in the Mamou-Pine Prairie area, and over 550 customers were out around New Iberia and Loreauville.
Entergy reported 772 people had lost power in St. Martin Parish, along with 20 customers or less in Acadia Parish, Lafayette Parish and St. Landry Parish.
SLEMCO reported 117 residents were out of power in St. Martin Parish.
Slow-moving Barry is shaping up to be a major rainfall threat to central and eastern Louisiana.
Barry could drop as much as 3 inches of rain per hour.
Forecasters expect the worst rainfall — 15 inches or greater — from Morgan City northeast through the Baton Rouge area.
Wind were sustained at about 45 mph with higher gusts in Morgan City, but little damage was being reported. Tree branches, siding and part of the fence around the Morgan City High School football stadium are down. But rainfall has been minimal so far.
About 5,000 in St. Mary Parish are without power this morning, according to David Naquin, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
A rain band is expected around 8 a.m., Naquin said, then heavier sustained rain could occur. Workers can’t restore power until the wind subsides, which he expects to occur around noon.
Driving is difficult with the wind, so he advises residents to stay indoors. The two-lane bridge spanning the Atchafalaya River between Morgan City and Berwick is closed to motorists. The four-lane U.S. 90 bridge remains open.
In the nearby lower St. Martin Parish community of Stephensville, Friday afternoon residents helped friends and neighbors prepare for heavy rains expected with Barry. Until a few weeks ago, high water from the Atchafalaya River and surrounding bayous, coupled with rainfall, flooded some homes.
Mike Bahry had sand bags surrounding his home until about two weeks ago. He removed them when water levels dropped. Friday, friends and neighbors helped put a water-filled barrier around his home instead of sandbags.
Next door, Dany Barras put a water-filled barrier around his house, along with two pumps, stopping water from entering his home of about 32 years. Friday, the barrier was going back up.
“It’s beginning to happen way too often,” Barras said of the flooding.
Barry's intensity remains the same on Saturday morning, but is still expected to strengthen before landfall. The track has shifted a little west along the Iberia Parish/Vermilion Parish border with landfall likely still happening in the morning. Talking points remain largely the same.