/Life-threatening floods, tornadoes still possible as Barry drenches Gulf Coast

Life-threatening floods, tornadoes still possible as Barry drenches Gulf Coast

Barry drenched the Gulf Coast and slowly inched northward over Louisiana early Sunday, appearing likely to swamp the region with potentially life-threatening flash floods.

But the tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, has weakened enough to spare New Orleans from dire flooding that had been feared in recent days.

People walk through floodwaters along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana, on July 13, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images

Barry’s main threat as of 11 a.m. ET was flooding rains, the National Weather Service said. The storm was forecast to weaken to a tropical depression later Sunday, the service said.

The National Weather Service also warned that tornadoes could potentially sweep across a wide swath of the South on Sunday afternoon. The service said twisters were possible in southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, western Alabama, eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee.

Barry had strengthened briefly Saturday from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph before weakening again slightly.

It made landfall near Intracoastal City, an unincorporated community in Vermilion Parish roughly 170 miles west of New Orleans, around 1 p.m.

The storm triggered power outages to at least 75,000 households and businesses in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, most of them in Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Saturday that Barry’s slow speed makes it potentially more damaging.

“We would like it to pick up pace a little bit so it would move through the area a little quicker,” the governor said at a news conference.

A man stands in floodwaters at Don’z On The Lake restaurant as winds from tropical storm Barry push water over a seawall at Lake Pontchartrain on July 13, 2019.David Grunfeld / The Advocate via AP