Barry officially reached hurricane status mid-morning Saturday as it crept toward southwest Louisiana’s coast, the National Hurricane Center says.
Rainfall so far has not been as severe as was feared, though the slow-moving system still brings the risk of dangerous storm surge, heavy rain and strong wind across the north-central Gulf Coast.
Power outages are being reported around south Louisiana, and 12 people reportedly were rescued overnight from rising water in Terrebonne Parish.
As of 10 a.m. central, Hurricane Barry was 40 miles south of Lafayette and 50 miles west of Morgan City, the Hurricane Center says. Maximum sustained winds reached 75 miles per hour, which is just above the minimum threshold for a Category 1 hurricane. The storm was moving northwest at about 6 miles per hour.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Louisiana coast from Cameron to Sabine Pass, the Hurricane Center says. The hurricane watch for the Louisiana coast east of Grand Isle has been discontinued, along with the tropical storm watch for the Mississippi coast.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Louisiana coast from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle, while the storm surge watch still extends east to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
While the rain has not arrived as early as expected in many areas, and forecasts indicate the rainfall may not be as severe as was feared, local officials throughout south Louisiana are urging residents to stay vigilant.
Residents can call 211 for information about local shelters.