• Tropical Storm Barry expected to make landfall Saturday morning

    By: Severe Weather Team 2

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Tropical Storm Barry continues to churn toward Louisiana, with anticipated landfall early Saturday morning near New Orleans.

    Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz is tracking the storm and its potential impacts.

    We'll have the latest on Barry's track and its impacts, on Channel 2 Action News Saturday AM starting at 6 a.m. 

    Barry is currently carrying sustained winds of 65 mph, with gusts up to 75 mph.

    [DOWNLOAD: WSB-TV's Weather App for alerts of the tropical system]

    The storm is currently projected to make landfall around 8 a.m. Saturday as a weak hurricane.

    Nitz said the biggest impact that Barry will have will be significant flooding.

    THE PERFECT STORM:

    Never before has a hurricane made landfall when the Mississippi River was already at flood stage, Nitz said.

    "Barry will spread torrential rain inland, leading to the likelihood of significant flooding across much of the lower Mississippi River," Nitz said.

    [READ: How does a hurricane form?]

    Flood warnings have already been issued along the Mississippi from New Orleans north through Arkansas.

    Nitz said conditions are making for a perfect storm and the worst-case scenario for flooding.

    “There has been significant flooding throughout the spring months along the Missouri and upper Mississippi river valleys following the big winter snow levels that melted,” Nitz said.

    [READ: What is storm surge and why is it dangerous?]

    Throughout May and June, Severe Weather Team 2 tracked historic floods along the Arkansas River.

    All of that water from both of those events then flowed south into the Mississippi.

    “That water takes a long time to drain” into the Gulf of Mexico, Nitz said.

    HISTORIC FLOODING ANTICIPATED:

    Nitz says the lower Mississippi is already near flood stage. Barry is expected to produce torrential rainfall, which is expected to lead to devastating flooding.

    "We're talking amounts of 1 to 2 feet of rain in parts of the lower Mississippi River valley," Nitz said.

    [READ: NOAA releases prediction for this year's hurricane season]

    The Mississippi River is expected to crest at 19 feet, just inches from the top of the levees.

    Officials remain confident the levees will not fail like they did during Hurricane Katrina.

    The flooding could be overwhelming for some communities if Barry continues to rain and not move.

    STORM UPDATES:

    At last update, the storm's maximum sustained wind speed is around 65 mph and is moving westward at about 5 mph. 

    A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

    • Intracoastal City to Grand Isle

    A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

    • Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle
    • Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New
    • Orleans
    • Intracoastal City to Cameron

    A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

    • Intracoastal City to Biloxi
    • Lake Pontchartrain

    A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

    • Biloxi to the Mississippi/Alabama border

    A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

    • Mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle
    • Intracoastal City to Cameron

    A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

    • East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border

    American, Delta, jetBlue, United and Southwest airlines are issuing travel waivers Passengers traveling through select airports in the Gulf Coast may change flights without fees.

    Carnival Cruise Line says it rerouted a cruise ship headed to New Orleans because of the potential tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Miami-based company says the more than 3,700-passenger Carnival Valor was sent to Mobile, Alabama, in the interest of safety. A company statement notes that coastal Louisiana is under a hurricane watch and water levels are high on the Mississippi River.

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