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Tropical Storm Barry making final approach, voluntary evacuations across New Orleans

Christian Fernsby |
Tropical Storm Barry is making its final approach toward the Gulf Coast on Saturday morning.

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Residents in the region who weren't put under voluntary evacuation were told to shelter in place.

"This is going to be a significant weather event," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards cautioned in a post on Twitter.

"No one should take this storm lightly." At a press conference on Friday, Edwards vowed the state was ready for impact and levees in New Orleans should withstand the floodwaters.

"The levees are stronger than they’ve ever been," Edwards told reporters.

"The system is tighter than its ever been. Our state is better prepared.”

Voluntary evacuations have been issued across New Orleans for areas that are not protected by the levees.

People are running out of time to evacuate as Barry makes its final approach.

"The lack of rainfall across Louisiana early Saturday morning should not fool residents into thinking that it's safe to venture out.

Conditions are expected to rapidly deteriorate throughout the day with intensifying rain and wind as Barry makes its final approach," AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff said.

Louisiana has declared a state of emergency in advance of Barry's arrival as residents and crews work to brace the city for impact. Residents were told to shelter in place by 8 p.m. CDT Friday.

"Since the storm is still moving slowly, there is still the potential that Barry reaches Category 1 hurricane strength just prior to landfall. At the 4:00 a.m. CDT Saturday update by the National Hurricane Center, Barry was only 9 mph away from low-end Category 1 hurricane strength (74 mph or greater)," Duff said.

Every flood gate has been closed along Lake Pontchartrain due to the anticipated flooding. The city of New Orleans is not offering any sandbags, but businesses and residents have stepped up to provide sandbags for people in town. AccuWeather National Reporter Jonathan Petramala captured video of dozens of residents pitching in to fill up sandbags in preparation for Barry.

"Regardless of whether Barry reaches hurricane strength, the storm will produce life-threatening flooding, locally damaging winds and isolated tornadoes as it tracks inland," Duff said.

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