Tropical storm Barry is expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Saturday, which will cause serious flooding in parts of the southeastern US state. Tropical storm Barry is likely to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.
According to the updates received at 4 pm on Friday, the tropical storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 100 km per hour and centred over the northern Gulf of Mexico at a spot about 115 km south-southeast of Morgan City in Louisiana, about 180 km west-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Before making landfall, tropical storm Barry is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane (maximum sustained winds of between 119 kph and 153 kph).
Governor John Bel Edwards said on Friday that authorities were taking the situation very seriously and that more than 300 buses were available at three different staging areas for people who may need to evacuate.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday night declared a federal state of emergency for Louisiana at Edwards' request, a move that the governor said on Twitter would "help us better coordinate and respond to the incoming storm".
Long lines were seen early Friday at the international airport serving low-lying New Orleans, a city devastated in 2005 by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, after some airlines decided to cancel flights due to the approaching storm.
That situation prompted the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to request that passengers make any changes to their itineraries via Internet or by phone to avoid further congestion at the airport.
"Flights continue to operate ... Check the status of your flight with your airline before coming to the airport. Arrive early. Lines may be longer than normal," the airport said on Twitter.
Discount airline Allegiant Air on Thursday announced the cancellation of three flights from New Orleans, while British Airways said it has cancelled its once-daily flights to and from London on both Friday and Saturday.
Long lines also have formed in recent hours at service stations and grocery stores in Louisiana due to fears the storm will knock out power for several days.
In its latest bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center warned that the combination of a dangerous storm surge triggered by Barry and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland.
At present, a hurricane warning is in effect along a coastal stretch running from the Louisiana towns of Intracoastal City to Grand Isle, which is located on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.
On its forecast track, Barry is projected to make landfall over the central Louisiana coast on Saturday and then move northward through the Mississippi Valley through Sunday night.
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