The US city of New Orleans, along with a stretch of the Louisiana coast, is currently under threat life-threatening rain as storm-surge watches warn residents of possible flooding from rising waters and coastal inundations.
According to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, an imminent tropical storm has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and conditions appear to be favourable to strengthens it to the status of a hurricane as it approaches the central Gulf Coast by the weekend.
Based on the location where it first formed, there is a strong chance this tropical storm might have a devastating effect. A flash flood emergency was declared earlier Wednesday in New Orleans, part of which is built below sea level and was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), some parts of the southeastern Louisiana coast were already experiencing heavy rains.
According to Weather.Com, “storm surge watches” have been issued for parts of the southeast Louisiana coast, from the mouth of the Pearl River at the border with Mississippi to Morgan City, Louisiana.
This does not include the Lake Pontchartrain area. However, local authorities also issued warnings to residents as the Mississippi River neared flood levels, rising to 16 feet (4.9 meters) in New Orleans.
Consequently, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell closed the city hall and urged non-essential employees to stay home, while the city’s airport reported numerous flight delays.
The US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to fly into the disturbance early this afternoon. If they can find a closed area of low pressure with enough persistent showers and thunderstorms around it, the NHC would then upgrade the disturbance to either Tropical Depression Two or Tropical Storm Barry, depending on wind strength.