The National Weather Service forecast for the Houston area warns that weekend weather depends on exactly what track Tropical Storm Barry takes, but the agency’s forecast said Thursday night that “We are more confident that there will be minimal impacts from Barry for the area, but do not want to let our guard down either.”
The forecast warned to keep an eye on developments.
The official forecast, though, predicts Barry will continue westward then turn north, moving into Louisiana Saturday.
The Harris County Office of Emergency Management is continuing to monitor the storm but said it no longer expects Barry to affect the area. The latest direction from the Chambers County Office of Emergency Management is that heavy rain is possibly.
Things are looking a lot worse farther east.
Thousands of Louisianans broke out sandbags or fled to higher ground Thursday as Tropical Storm Barry threatened to turn into the first hurricane of the season and blow ashore with torrential rains that could pose a severe test of New Orleans’ improved post-Katrina flood defenses. 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.Barry could have winds of about 75 mph, just barely over the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a Category 1 storm, forecasters said.
But it is expected to bring more than a foot and a half of rain in potentially ruinous downpours that could go on for hours as the storm passes through the metropolitan area of nearly 1.3 million people and pushes slowly inland.
Louisiana Gov. 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this article