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(AP) — A hurricane warning has been issued for parts of the Louisiana coast ahead of Tropical Storm Barry’s arrival.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center issued the warning Thursday afternoon for the Louisiana coast from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for other areas including the New Orleans metro area.
Barry is currently a tropical storm with winds of about 40 miles per hour and was offshore about 90 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Forecasters say the storm is likely to become a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall Friday or early Saturday.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is telling people in the southern part of the state to be prepared for heavy rain from Tropical Storm Barry as it pushes northward through the Gulf of Mexico.
The agency says people in low-lying areas should have a plan to evacuate before waters rise.
Thousands of Louisianans broke out sandbags or fled to higher ground Thursday.
National Guard troops and rescue crews in high-water vehicles took up positions around the state as Louisiana braced for the arrival of the storm along its swampy southern tip Friday night or early Saturday.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, who declared an emergency earlier in the week as the storm brewed in the Gulf of Mexico, warned that the storm’s blow could form a dangerous combination with the already-high Mississippi River, which has been swelled by heavy rain and snowmelt upriver this spring.
“There are three ways that Louisiana can flood: storm surge, high rivers, and rain,” Edwards said.
“We’re going to have all three.”
He said authorities do not expect the Mississippi River to spill over its levees — something that has never happened in New Orleans’ modern history — but cautioned that a change in the storm’s direction or intensity could alter that.
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