The Coast Guard said it is in the process of rescuing more than a dozen people stranded on a remote Louisiana island by flooding from Tropical Storm Barry.
Petty Officer Lexie Preston said some of the people were on rooftops Saturday, July 13, on the Isle de Jean Charles, about 45 miles south of New Orleans.
Preston told The Associated Press the rescue is ongoing and four people and a cat have been taken from the island on a helicopter. She said a boat is also heading to the area to help get the rest of the people off the island.
The Coast Guard reported that none of the rescued strandees, including four who were elderly, were injured, WWL-TV reported.
More than a dozen people stranded on rooftops in Terrebonne Parish are being rescued by the Coast Guard. https://t.co/t5cIy9rYXt
— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) July 13, 2019
The island is the home of the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe and is part of the southern Louisiana bayous threatened by rising sea levels.
The island and other low-lying areas in Terrebonne Parish were under a voluntary evacuation order from Friday, FOX reported.
Coast Guard Shallow Water Response teams have deployed and pre-staged in Covington, Louisiana and Shreveport, Louisiana, ready to respond after Tropical Storm #Barry makes landfall.#BarryResponse #USCGBarryResponse pic.twitter.com/OztAlh4Z6R
— USCG Heartland (@USCGHeartland) July 13, 2019
Tropical Storm Barry, poised to make landfall as the first Atlantic hurricane of 2019, churned ever closer to Louisiana’s shore on Saturday morning as most New Orleans residents huddled at home, or in bars, bracing for the threat of severe flooding.
The city closest to where Tropical Storm Barry is predicted to make landfall is already seeing power outages.
According to Entergy Louisiana’s outages map, more than 45,800 people had been affected by the power outages as of 4:11 a.m. Saturday.
Those parishes were east of Morgan City, where Barry is expected to make landfall as a hurricane and nearly a fourth of those outages was in coastal Terrebonne Parish.
A number of other southern parishes were affected, including Jefferson Parish outside of New Orleans.
Barry is Strengthening
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. Saturday advisory that the storm’s maximum sustained winds have increased 5 mph over the past several hours to 70 mph, with higher gusts.
Barry is expected to reach hurricane strength by the time its center reaches the Louisiana coast, expected before noon local time. The storm is expected to weaken after it moves inland.
Tropical Storm #Barry is expected to strengthen to a hurricane before reaching the Louisiana coastline late this morning or early this afternoon. For more details, see https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/DN87zaZDVe
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) July 13, 2019
The storm is moving northwest at about 5 mph, and a turn to the north is expected late Saturday or early Sunday.
Weather forecasters say Barry could dump between 10 and 20 inches of rain over south-central and southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.
The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for parishes in the New Orleans area as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the southern Louisiana coast.
The agency issued tornado warnings for southwestern St. Bernard Parish and northwestern Plaquemines Parish early Saturday.
A bulletin said a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Port Sulphur in Plaquemines Parish, moving north at 50 mph. The bulletin said winds could be accompanied by pea-sized hail.
Tornado Warning including Port Sulphur LA, Pointe à la Hache LA, Hopedale LA until 1:30 AM CDT pic.twitter.com/yyx4ecPe2L
— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) July 13, 2019
Residents were advised to take cover immediately. The advisory was in effect until 1:30 a.m., local time.
NTD News staff and Reuters contributed to this report.