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Dozens rescued in Louisiana after Barry causes thousands of power outages across the state

Posted at 1:00 AM, Jul 15, 2019

Residents of Louisiana felt the full brunt of Tropical Storm Barry's rainfall overnight as they woke to find localized flooding and hundreds of thousands of customers without poweracross the state.

First responders rescued 93 people from 11 parishes as a result of the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news conference Sunday afternoon. Thirteen of those people and two pets were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There were no reports of weather-related fatalities, Edwards said.

Rain was expected throughout Sunday, especially in Louisiana, even as nearly 7 inches of rain had fallen in Montrose, Alabama, and just over 6 inches fell in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, through the first day of the storm.

Edwards advised Louisiana residents to continue to remain vigilant as several inches of rain were still expected through Sunday night, especially in southern Louisiana, which could lead to flash flooding, as well as tornado watches in nine parishes until 7 p.m. local time.

The hurricane protection systems in southern Louisiana functioned well, even though the storm surge that was originally anticipated did not occur. However, Edwards said he was "grateful" that the "worst-case scenario" in rain and flooding did not occur.

President Donald Trump tweeted his support to the residents of Louisiana and the surrounding areas on Sunday morning.

"A big risk of major flooding in large parts of Louisiana and all across the Gulf Coast," he wrote. "Please be very careful!"

By Sunday evening, power had been restored to about 188,000 customers, Edwards said. Some of those customers had power restored multiple times to do the ongoing weather event.

Barry made landfall as a very weak Category 1 hurricane on Saturday afternoon near Intercostal City, Louisiana. The last hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana was Nate in 2017.

The levees have held in most prominent cities, but a levee was over-topped in Terrebonne Parish, on the coast southeast of New Orleans, where the Coast Guard rescued 12 people and two dogs by helicopter.

"Every storm is different and sometimes we want to think we know what to expect from today's storm based on what we've experienced in the past," Edwards said. "And we continually learn that lesson, but every storm is different."

The storm is now moving over land, but it is not over. Life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding are still expected from Louisiana up through the lower Mississippi Valley through Monday.

On Monday morning, heavy rain will continue to push into parts of Arkansas as Barry -- or what remains of it -- barely moves northward. However, more tropical rain will push into parts of southern Louisiana from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge with rainfall rates still exceeding 3 inches per hour in spots.

Early predictions for river crests are being lowered, but they will remain a concern heading into the work week.

"Because of a change in the rain forecast, the crest predictions for many of the rivers have actually gone down," Edwards said. "However I should point out, that even the revised crest heights qualify as major flooding and present serious threats to life and to property. I implore you to remain alert and aware."