Celebrity & National

The Latest: Mississippi River won’t be as high as feared

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office inmate workers move free sandbags for residents in Chalmette, La., Thursday, July 11, 2019. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is telling people in the southern part of the state to be prepared for heavy rain from Tropical Storm Barry as it pushes northward through the Gulf of Mexico.
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office inmate workers move free sandbags for residents in Chalmette, La., Thursday, July 11, 2019. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is telling people in the southern part of the state to be prepared for heavy rain from Tropical Storm Barry as it pushes northward through the Gulf of Mexico. AP Photo

The Latest on Tropical Storm Barry (all times local):

11:05 p.m.

Forecasters expect the Mississippi River to crest about 2 feet (0.6 meters) lower in New Orleans than previously predicted — good news for those who feared the river might spill over the levees that protect the city.

The National Weather Service said Friday night that the river will rise as high as 17.1 feet (5.2 meters) by Monday in New Orleans.

Forecasters had earlier thought the river would crest Saturday at about 19 feet (5.8 meters) in New Orleans. The levees protecting the city range from about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) high.

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9:30 p.m.

Officials on the other side of a wide tidal basin from New Orleans are warning residents whose houses flooded in 2016 that they may face a repeat from Tropical Storm Barry.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said in a news release Friday night that flooding is likely over the next several days in low-lying areas.

Spokesman Ronnie Simpson says about 700 homes in the Tchefunce (chuh-FUNK-tuh), Bogue Falaya (BOH-guh fuh-LY-uh) and Bogue Chitto river basins flooded in the spring of 2016.

The parish government says people who live in those areas should complete flood prevention work and seriously consider getting their families to higher ground.

Brister says National Weather Service models show that the rivers could rise very quickly, making evacuation difficult.

St. Tammany Parish is on the other side of the Lake Pontchartrain (PONCH-er-trane) from New Orleans.

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7:30 p.m.

Ahead of Tropical Storm Barry's landfall, residents of southwestern Louisiana have been filling their shopping carts with supplies, including bottled water, canned goods and bread.

A Walmart Neighborhood Market in Lake Charles was packed with shoppers late Friday afternoon. Some shelves, including those in the bread aisles, were nearly empty.

Fifty-five-year-old Scott Daley maneuvered two shopping carts that carried bottled water, gallons of milk and frozen meat.

He says he has five small children and although he's worried about possible flooding in the city, he and his family still plan on riding out the storm.

Another shopper, 31-year-old Trameka Tompkins, said she wasn't too concerned about the storm. She said she expects to be at work Saturday night at Lowe's.

Lake Charles is about 190 miles (305 kilometers) west of New Orleans.

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6:45 p.m.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed an emergency declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Barry, which is expected to bring heavy rainfall to the state.

Bryant signed the declaration Friday afternoon as Barry was pushing northward into Louisiana. Parts of south and central Mississippi were expected to be soaked, and flood warnings are posted. Residents have been filling sandbags and stocking up on groceries and bottled water.

Choppy waters were rocking boats on St. Louis Bay in Hancock County, which borders Louisiana.

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4:50 p.m.

New Orleans residents are stocking up on supplies as many plan to heed city officials' advice to "shelter in place" ahead of Tropical Storm Barry's arrival.

A Costco parking lot was thinning out Friday afternoon because the store was closing early.

But employee Henry LeGarde says the sprawling lot was full earlier Friday. He says the hottest commodity was bottled water.

In anticipation of the heavy rains expected to fall, residents all over town have parked their cars on the city's medians in hopes the slightly elevated grounds would protect their vehicles.

The strengthening storm is expected to blow ashore early Saturday near Morgan City, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of New Orleans.

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3:40 p.m.

Still recovering from 2017's Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston is helping neighboring Louisiana as Tropical Storm Barry looms.

Mayor Sylvester Turner's office on Friday announced a Houston Relief Hub and a call for donations ranging from diapers to batteries to bottled water. The statement says relief items will be delivered directly to New Orleans.

A city of Houston tweet says some residents were "preparing to help our neighbors in New Orleans and the greater Louisiana area" as Barry headed toward the coast.

Harvey made landfall in South Texas in August 2017, then dumped nearly 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain on parts of flood-prone Houston, causing numerous bayous to overflow.

Houston is located 340 miles (547 kilometers) west of New Orleans. It took in about 150,000 evacuees after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005.

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3:25 p.m.

There have been long lines at New Orleans' international airport as people try to flee Tropical Storm Barry.

Tamara Lumpkin was heading home to Prince George's County, Maryland on Friday. She'd come for a sorority convention that ended a day early because of the storm.

Lumpkin says it took only six minutes to rebook her flight once she explained the reason.

The first-floor baggage claim area was nearly deserted.

One new arrival was 64-year-old David Caton of Boca Raton, Florida. He said he flew in a day earlier than planned to make sure he got to see The Rolling Stones.

He knew the concert had been postponed from Sunday to Monday, but wanted to get in before the storm.

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2:55 p.m.

Search-and-rescue teams are stationed at three places in Mississippi in preparation for torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm Barry as it pushes north from the Gulf of Mexico.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman T.J. Werre (WARE-ee) said Friday the teams are on the Gulf Coast, at Camp Shelby military base near Hattiesburg and in Pike County in the southwestern part of the state near the Louisiana state line.

The coast is expected to receive tidal surge and the southwestern part of the state is expected to see the heaviest rainfall from Friday to Sunday.

About 550,000 acres (222,580 hectares) in the rural Mississippi Delta, north of Vicksburg, has been flooded for months — much of it, farmland. Werre says the storm could exacerbate that problem as it moves north along the Mississippi River.

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2:15 p.m.

More than 120 children from across the U.S. attending a summer program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge have been evacuated to Texas amid concerns about flooding as Tropical Storm Barry approaches Louisiana's coast.

A Rice University statement says the middle and high school students were brought by bus overnight to the campus in Houston and arrived around 4 a.m. Friday.

The students are part of three-week Duke University program for high-achieving students. Rice officials offered to help, citing its availability of campus housing and proximity to Baton Rouge. Both cities are along Interstate 10.

Parents were given the option to pick up their children from LSU, but students attend from across the country.

Rice officials also say the campus of the private school would be available for the evacuated students to finish their course if significant flooding happens in the Baton Rouge area.

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1:35 p.m.

Tropical Storm Barry is maintaining its strength as it moves toward Louisiana, where it threatens to bring heavy rains and flooding.

A Friday afternoon advisory from the U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm's maximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph (104 kph). The hurricane center says additional strengthening is expected and the storm is forecast to be a hurricane when its center reaches the coast.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast.

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12:35 p.m.

A voluntary evacuation has been called for a Louisiana parish near Tropical Storm Barry's expected landfall Saturday.

St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff says many people have already left areas below the Intracoastal Waterway, where a voluntary evacuation was called Thursday. He says Friday's voluntary evacuation was called after the storm's predicted course shifted a bit west, putting the parish on the storm's rainy eastern side.

Hanagriff says shelters will be opened, though he couldn't say when.

He says drainage canals and ditches are being pumped to as low a level as possible, to create a reservoir for at least some of the rain predicted. Pumps sent by the state are being staged in Morgan City, where about 10,000 to 12,000 of the parish's 50,000 to 55,000 residents live.

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As Tropical Storm Barry approaches the state's coast, tourists in New Orleans are being asked to "shelter in place" in their hotels if they don't have confirmed airline reservations for flights out of the city.

The message came Friday at a news conference by city officials. The director of Louis Armstrong International Airport said long lines formed early Friday as many visitors sought early departures. And Kristian Sonnier (SAWN'-yay) of the local tourism agency, says people who don't get flights out won't be able to shelter at the airport.

Officials said one major convention, the annual meeting of Delta Sigma Theta Sorrority was wrapping up early.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in the region. Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. The storm's center is expected to come ashore Saturday.

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11:35 a.m.

Tropical Storm Barry is beginning to lash metropolitan New Orleans with its outer bands.

National Weather Service forecaster Christopher Bannan says one of those bands late Friday morning passed over the agency's Slidell office, where the storm brought a wind gust of 25 mph (40 kph).

Bannan says the primary concern of forecasters in Louisiana remains the heavy rainfall and potential for significant flooding.

About a third of an inch of rain had already fallen at the weather service's Slidell office before noon Friday.

Forecasters say Barry could dump 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of rain across a swath of Louisiana including New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

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11:20 a.m.

Since Hurricane Katrina, groups of Louisiana residents calling themselves the Cajun Navy have used their own boats to rescue people from floods in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and other states.

The founder of one such group, United Cajun Navy, tells New Orleans station WWL-AM that many Louisiana members are scrambling to protect their homes as Tropical Storm Barry approaches, so out-of-state members are heading to Louisiana to be ready. Todd Terrell says the group has volunteers from seven states.

Terrell says members have been working to fill sandbags in the Baton Rouge area. He says his goal was 5,000 sandbags in three days and they'd filled three times that in a day-and-a-half.

He says they're also delivering sandbags to people who are handicapped veterans, or disabled, and cannot get sandbags themselves.

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The Rolling Stones have postponed their New Orleans concert as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the area, but the group's website says the show will go on a day later.

The concert had been scheduled for Sunday after the group's appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival earlier this year was canceled so singer Mick Jagger could get medical treatment.

The message on the rock group's website says fans should hold on to their tickets because they will be honored the next day.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in the region. Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. The storm's center is expected to come ashore Saturday.

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10 a.m.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Barry is strengthening as it approaches the Louisiana coast and is again expected to become a hurricane when its center reaches land.

In a Friday morning advisory, the hurricane center said Barry's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph (104 kph) with additional strengthening expected before landfall.

A storm surge warning has been issued for Lake Pontchartrain and eastward to Biloxi, Mississippi.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in the region.

Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. The storm's center is expected to come ashore Saturday.

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9:45 a.m.

Another coastal Louisiana parish has ordered evacuations as Tropical Storm Barry approaches from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Lafourche (luh-FOOSH) Parish Sheriff's Office says there's a mandatory evacuation for Port Fourchon (foo-SHONH) and other areas south of the Leon Theriot ("Terry-oh") Lock in Golden Meadow.

The government has set up a dozen locations around the rest of the parish for people who need sandbags. Officials say people must bring their own shovels.

For people who have no safe place to evacuate, the parish has opened a shelter at the Raceland Recreation Center. People are advised to bring their own bedding, medication and food and water for three days, as well as identification. Children must be with adults, and the only animals allowed are service animals; no pets.

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8:45 a.m.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans says water is already starting to cover some low lying roads in coastal Louisiana as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the state from the Gulf of Mexico.

In a Friday morning tweet, the weather service says tides are rising and water levels are expected to peak Saturday.

The slow-moving storm is prompting fears of flooding in the region.

Forecasters say there's still a chance Barry will strengthen to a hurricane for a short time as it comes ashore on the Louisiana coast, where hurricane warnings are in effect.

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7:40 a.m.

National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham says people should be concerned even if Barry comes ashore as a tropical storm instead of a hurricane because its slow movement will bring hazardous drenching rain either way.

Speaking Friday, Graham said the storm's slow movement means there'll be more rainfall.

Forecasters say there's still a chance Barry will strengthen to a hurricane for a short time as it comes ashore on the Louisiana coast, where hurricane warnings are in effect. Pockets of Louisiana could get rainfalls as high as 25 inches (63 centimeters).

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7:15 a.m.

Tropical Storm Barry is slowly churning off the Louisiana coast as communities from the coast to New Orleans keep a close eye on its predicted path.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Friday morning that the center of the storm was about 95 miles (155 kilometers) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and its top winds were blowing at 50 mph (85 kph).

Forecasters stress that the slow movement of the storm is likely to bring a massive drenching, with pockets of Louisiana experiencing rainfalls as high as 25 inches (63 centimeters).

Hurricane warnings are in effect along the Louisiana coast. The storm's center was expected to come ashore late Friday or early Saturday. It could grow into the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

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1 a.m.

Tropical Storm Barry's wind and rain are starting to hit Louisiana as New Orleans and coastal communities brace for what's expected to be the first hurricane of the season.

A hurricane warning was in effect along the Louisiana coast, and forecasters said the storm could make landfall as a hurricane by early Saturday.

But it's the storm's rains that are expected to pose a severe test of New Orleans' improved post-Katrina flood defenses. Barry could bring more than a foot and a half (0.5 meters) of rain to parts of the state as it moves slowly inland.

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