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Aramark's Konner Dennis, lead custodian for the Baton Rouge Center For Visual and Performing Arts, places sand bags at the bottom of doorways to the cafeteria/auditorium, Friday, July 12, 2019, in advance of the arrival in Baton Rouge of Tropical Storm Barry. The doorways are relatively low, near a parking lot, and can get water in a heavy rain event, she said. Aramark is a facilities services contractor with the East Baton Rouge School District.

Tropical Storm Barry sped up slightly but continued to weaken late Saturday afternoon as it approached the Lafayette area, sparing Baton Rouge the brunt of the heavy rain and wind.

The National Hurricane Center's 4 p.m. advisory put Barry's maximum sustained winds at 65 mph, down from 75 mph earlier in the day when Barry briefly reached Category 1 hurricane status.

Barry is moving north-northwest at 7 mph -- a slight increase in its forward direction and change in its northwest movement from earlier in the afternoon -- and is 20 miles west-southwest of Lafayette and 85 miles south of Alexandria.

On its current track, the center of the storm will remain well to the west of the Baton Rouge area.

Barry's center is expected to move through central part of the state Saturday night and through north Louisiana on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Once projected to dump 10 to 20 inches of rain in the Baton Rouge area, Barry now may only drop six to 10 inches in the area, the NHC and the National Weather Service office in Slidell said.

But meteorologists are cautioning that depending on where future rain bands set up, the Baton Rouge area could receive more rain that now projected.

Parish government and law enforcement officials are still asking residents to stay off the roads.

Flash flooding and river flooding are still possible in the area, forecasters have said. Several area rivers are expected to rise sharply over the next several days.

Barry made landfall near Intracoastal City as a Category 1 hurricane earlier in the day.

Barry rainfall forecast outlook for July 13, 2019

A breakdown of estimated rainfall associated with Hurricane Barry starting Saturday


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.