Tropical Storm Barry maintaining strength as it nears the coast

ABC Action News tracks tropical developments in the Atlantic

The lower MS has already been running at flood stage for months after the so-called "bomb cyclone" and other storms starting in March that dumped huge volumes of rain on Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri - which flowed down the MS and could further feed moisture to Barry, scientists said. With New Orleans already recovering from flooding earlier in the week, the situation is about to get much worse. Drinking water was lined up, and utility crews with bucket trucks moved into position in the region.

A coastal storm surge into the mouth of the MS is expected to push its crest to 19 feet (5.79 m) in New Orleans on Saturday, the highest level since 1950 and dangerously close to the top of the city's levees.

An SUV travels down Breakwater Drive in New Orleans near the Orleans Marina as water moves in from Lake Pontchartrain from the storm surge from Tropical Storm Barry.

"It's deeper than they believe it to be, and also there's current that sometimes is imperceptible", Edwards said. Some more strengthening is expected during the day, and some models show Barry could become a hurricane by Friday night when the center is near the coast.

"But this is going to be a very, very significant rain event across most of Louisiana".

"We're going to have all three", Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday in a news conference. That includes a hurricane watch, tropical storm watch and flash flood watch. "We are talking about very, very heavy rainfall and for potentially a foot or two of rain along to the east of the track and notice it is only slowly making its move off toward the north".

About 10,000 people in Plaquemines Parish on Louisiana's low-lying southeastern tip were ordered evacuated on Thursday.

However, the city did not plan to order evacuations because Barry was so close and because it was not expected to grow into a major hurricane.

President Donald Trump declared a federal emergency for Louisiana, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts.

Green group Environment America said there were more than 100 Superfund environmental cleanup sites and 17 oil refineries in the path of the storm.

Officials canceled a Sunday night concert by the Rolling Stones.

All over town, people parked their cars on the city's medians - referred to around here as "neutral grounds" - in hopes their vehicles would be safe on the slightly elevated strips.

In its aftermath, the Army Corps of Engineers began a multibillion-dollar hurricane-protection system that isn't complete.

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