Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Wednesday as Louisiana prepares for an expected hurricane.
"This is going to be a Louisiana event with coastal flooding and widespread, heavy rainfall potentially impacting every part of the state,” Edwards said. “We expect multiple parishes to declare states of emergency, and we stand ready to assist our local partners with all available resources.”
The National Hurricane Center said Potential Tropical Cyclone Two is gathering strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A tropical depression is expected to form by Thursday.
The center currently expects it to make landfall as Hurricane Barry, a Category 1 storm, in southwest Louisiana early Saturday afternoon. The hurricane watch extends from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron, which is south of Lake Charles and near the border with Texas.
A tropical storm watch has been issued from near the mouth of the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Pearl River.
The storm may dump up to two feet of rain in some areas near the Gulf Coast. An evacuation order has been issued for part of Plaquemines Parish, which is at the southeast tip of Louisiana near New Orleans.
Though Barry is projected to be a relatively low-intensity Category 1 hurricane, Edwards reminded residents that “low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact.” The Mississippi River has been elevated for 257 days, which could make the storm particularly dangerous in the southeast parts of the state, possibly leading to overflowing levees.
The system is moving slowly, which brings the threat of heavy rainfall along the central Gulf Coast and inland through the Mississippi Valley through the weekend and possibly into early next week, the Hurricane Center says.