Barry sloshes ashore, soaks Louisiana

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By KEVIN McGILL and JANET McCONNAUGH­EY

NEW OR­LEANS — Barry rolled into the Louisiana coast Satur­day, flood­ing high­ways, forc­ing peo­ple to scramble to rooftops and dump­ing heavy rain that could test the lev­ees and pumps that were bol­stered after Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina dev­as­tated New Or­leans in 2005.

After briefly be­com­ing a Cat­e­gory 1 hur­ri­cane, the sys­tem quickly weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm as it made land­fall near In­tra­coastal City, Louisiana, about 160 miles west of New Or­leans, with its winds fall­ing to 70 mph, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said.

By late af­ter­noon, New Or­leans had been spared the storm’s worst ef­fects, with spo­radic light show­ers and gusty winds. But of­fi­cials warned Barry could still cause dis­as­trous flood­ing across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast and drop up to 20 inches of rain to­day across a part of Louisiana in­clud­ing New Or­leans and Ba­ton Rouge.

“This is just the be­gin­ning,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Ed­wards said. “It’s go­ing to be a long sev­eral days for our state.”

None of the main lev­ees on the Mis­sis­sippi were breached, Ed­wards said. But video showed wa­ter over­top­ping a levee in Plaque­m­ines Par­ish south of New Or­leans.

In some places, res­i­dents con­tin­ued to build de­fenses. Near the town of Jean Lafitte out­side New Or­leans, vol­un­teers helped town em­ploy­ees sand­bag a stretch of the two-lane state high­way.

Many busi­nesses were shut down or closed early in Ba­ton Rouge, and winds were strong enough to rock large pickup trucks. White­caps were vis­i­ble on the Mis­sis­sippi.

Oil and gas op­er­a­tors evac­u­ated hun­dreds of plat­forms and rigs in the Gulf of Mex­ico. Nearly 70% of Gulf oil pro­duc­tion and 56% of gas pro­duc­tion were turned off Satur­day, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Bu­reau of Safety and En­vi­ron­men­tal En­force­ment, which com­piles the num­bers from in­dus­try re­ports.

The mood was san­guine in New Or­leans, where light rain fell on mostly empty streets.

“What­ever is go­ing to hap­pen, is go­ing to hap­pen,” said Wayne Wilkinson, a New Or­leans res­i­dent. “So I’m not pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to it as I prob­a­bly should be.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Aimee Cut­ter, the owner of Beach House restau­rant, walks through wa­ter surge from Lake Pontchar­train on Satur­day in Man­dev­ille, Louisiana, ahead of Trop­i­cal Storm Barry.

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