Students evacuated to Texas as Barry approaches

Local News

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Tropical Storm Barry (all times local):

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.AP Video

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’sexpected 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 Barryapproaches, 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 Barryapproaches 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 Barrycomes 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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