BARRY RAISES FLOOD­ING RISK

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY SARAH BLAKE MOR­GAN AND JANET MCCONNAUGH­EY

Hur­ri­cane Barry weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm as it rolled into the Louisiana coast, flood­ing high­ways.

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 weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm as it made land­fall near In­tra­coastal City, 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 worst ef­fects, re­ceiv­ing only light show­ers and gusty winds. But of­fi­cials warned that Barry could still cause dis­as­trous flood­ing across a wide stretch of the Gulf Coast and drop up to 20 inches of rain through Sun­day across a part of Louisiana that in­cludes 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.”

The Coast Guard res­cued a dozen peo­ple from flooded ar­eas of Terrebonne Par­ish, south of New Or­leans, some of them from rooftops, a spokes­woman said. The peo­ple in­cluded a 77-year-old man who called for help be­cause he had about 4 feet of wa­ter in his home.

None of the main lev­ees on the Mis­sis­sippi River failed or were breached, Ed­wards said. But a levee in Terrebonne Par­ish was over­topped by wa­ter, of­fi­cials said. And video showed wa­ter get­ting over a sec­ond levee in Plaque­m­ines Par­ish, where fin­gers of land ex­tend deep into the Gulf of Mex­ico.

Nearly all busi­nesses in Mor­gan City, about 85 miles west of New Or­leans, were shut­tered with the ex­cep­tion of Meche’s Donuts Shop. Owner Todd Hoff­pauir did a brisk busi­ness de­spite the pound­ing winds and pul­sat­ing rain.

While mak­ing dough­nuts, Hoff­pauir said, he heard an ex­plo­sion and a rip­ping sound and later saw that the wind had peeled off lay­ers of the roof at an apart­ment com­plex.

In some places, res­i­dents con­tin­ued to build de­fenses. At the edge of the town of Jean Lafitte just out­side New Or­leans, vol­un­teers helped sev­eral town em­ploy­ees sand­bag a 600-foot stretch of the two-lane state high­way. The street was al­ready lined with one-ton sand­bags, and 30-pound bags were be­ing used to strengthen them.

“I’m here for my fam­ily, try­ing to save their stuff,” vol­un­teer Vin­nie Tor­torich said. “My cousin’s house is al­ready un­der.”

In Lafayette, Wil­lie Allen and his grand­son Gavin Cole­man, 11, shov­eled sand into 20 green bags, join­ing more than 20 other peo­ple do­ing the same thing dur­ing a break in the rain. Allen loaded the bags onto the back of his pickup.

“Ev­ery­body is pre­par­ing,” he said.

Many busi­nesses were shut down or closed early in Ba­ton Rouge.

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.

DAVID GRUNFELD AP

A man stands in the flood at Don’z On the Lake as wind from Trop­i­cal Storm Barry pushes wa­ter over the Lake Pontchar­train sea­wall Satur­day.

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