Flood and tornado risks remain across US Gulf Coast

Flood and tornado risks remain across US Gulf Coast

Tornado and flash flood warnings remain in place across the US Gulf Coast even though Tropical Depression Barry failed to unleash catastrophic flooding which had been predicted in Louisiana.

Barry was downgraded from a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon but continues to pose a threat as it moves north.

Much of Louisiana and Mississippi are under flash flood watches, as are parts of Arkansas, eastern Texas, western Tennessee and south-eastern Missouri.

Storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain inundates Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, Louisiana (AP)
Storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain inundates Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, Louisiana (AP)

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards urged residents to be cautious as they ventured outside after a weekend in which many had sheltered indoors.

He said he was “extremely grateful” that the storm had not caused the disastrous floods which had been forecast.

More than 90 people were rescued in 11 parishes, but there were no reports of weather-related fatalities, Mr Edwards said.

He added: “This was a storm that obviously could have played out very, very differently.

“We’re thankful that the worst case scenario did not happen.”

The tropical storm is captured in a Nasa satellite image captured  by US astronaut Christina Koch (Nasa/AP)
The tropical storm is captured in a Nasa satellite image captured by US astronaut Christina Koch (Nasa/AP)

Forecasters warned of a continued threat of heavy rains as the centre of the storm heads inland.

The US National Hurricane Centre said parts of south-central Louisiana could still have up to 12in of rainfall, with isolated pockets experiencing 15in.

In Mississippi, forecasters said 8in of rain had fallen in parts of Jasper and Jones counties.

Barry’s centre is moving from northern Louisiana into Arkansas.

New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city was “beyond lucky” that rainfall there fell well short of predictions of a deluge that could overwhelm the city’s pumping systems.

The storm was expected to weaken as it moved inland (AP)
The storm was expected to weaken as it moved inland (AP)

“We were spared,” she said at a news conference, while noting the city was ready to help nearby parishes if needed.

About 51,000 customers in Louisiana, 1,800 customers in Mississippi and another 1,700 customers in Arkansas were without power on Sunday night, according to energy officials.

Mr Edwards thanked the public for taking officials’ warnings seriously over the weekend, but he also reminded residents that it is still relatively early in the Atlantic’s hurricane season.

He said: “Based on what we’ve experienced, I think (we will be) even better prepared for next time – and we do know that there will be a next time.”

- Press Association

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