Barry bears down on the Gulf Coast

Jenny Jarvie and Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Weather News

"It has the potential to be a huge rainmaker," said Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric research scientist at Colorado State University. "That is the biggest concern."

On Thursday afternoon, the storm was about 90 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving west with maximum sustained wind of 40 mph.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for a 150-mile stretch of the Louisiana coast, from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle.

New Orleans got an inkling of what was ahead early Wednesday when heavy thunderstorms flooded streets across the metro area.

The city's leaders have yet to call for voluntary or mandatory evacuations, but they urged residents Thursday to prepare for the coming deluge by gathering emergency supplies: perishable food to last three days, three gallons of water per person, as well as a week's supply of prescription medications, first aid kits, flashlights, batteries, matches, lighters and a radio.

On Thursday afternoon, the Louisiana National Guard had begun to activate some of the extra 3,000 soldiers and airmen Edwards had authorized ahead of the storm. It had also staged high-water vehicles and boats in more than 20 communities across the state and positioned helicopters to support search and rescue, evacuation and recon missions as needed.

(Jarvie reported from New Orleans and Boxall from Los Angeles. Times staff writer Molly Hennessey- Fiske in Houston contributed to this report.)

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