Barry downgraded back to tropical storm as it makes landfall in Louisiana

Bearing down

Here are some wind reports from earlier this afternoon in Louisiana. But video showed water overtopping a levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, where fingers of land extend deep into the Gulf of Mexico.

After briefly becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, Barry was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall - but it nevertheless packed a serious punch as it moved inland.

Residents and business owners in New Orleans were laying down sand bags and boarding up windows while city officials set up shelters for residents.

The hurricane is now moving at such a slow pace that a heavy downpour is likely to continue across Louisiana throughout the weekend.

According to the most recent NOAA update, the storm is now grinding into the Gulf Coast, 50 miles (80km) southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana.

"Texans remember how the state of Louisiana came to our aid during Hurricane Harvey and now we are in turn lending our support as Louisianans face Tropical Storm Barry", Abbott said in a written statement Friday.

The "lopsided" nature of the storm meant most of the rain was expected after landfall and its slow speed increased the risk of flooding, the weather service said.

The US National Hurricane Center warned of risky storm surge, heavy rains and strong winds.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued across the region in low-lying areas and those outside public levee protection, according to the governor's office, while some areas had voluntary evacuation warnings.

Kit Stovall loads sandbags into his pickup truck with the help of Mississippi Department of Corrections inmates in Fernwood, Mississippi in preparation for Tropical Storm Barry.

In Mandeville, a city on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans, storm surge and choppy waters sent waves over the seawall and into nearby communities.

New Orleans had been braced for heavy rains Saturday, but instead had intermittent bands of moderate showers and occasional sunshine. As the storm continues to move north, more of the system will hover over land.

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Just east of where Barry made landfall, a tide gauge at Amerada Pass measured a storm surge of almost 7 feet on Saturday afternoon.

The storm was on track to reach hurricane strength shortly before crossing the coastline.

"It's moving really slowly", said New Orleans Councilwoman Helena Moreno.

British Airways: Flights to and from New Orleans were cancelled.

The mood was sanguine in New Orleans, where locals and tourists wandered through mostly empty streets under a light rain or stayed indoors.

Because of the high winds, there's a chance of tornadoes spinning off Barry.

Barry's primary threat is "life-threatening flooding rains", according to the National Hurricane Center. On Friday, a law enforcement officer was treated for facial cuts after a powerful wave churned up by Barry broke the windshield of a boat near Destin, Florida, about 50 miles east of Pensacola, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Twitter page.

Breitbart News reported that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, warning state residents not to take the storm lightly. Shell operations were continuing at the two Louisiana refineries, spokesman Ray Fisher said. The levee was not on the Mississippi River and there was no indication that the barrier was breached or broken or that major flooding was occurring, the recording said. "It is a back levee in the vicinity of Myrtle Grove and it points further south". Almost a fourth of those outages were in coastal Terrebonne Parish. "AccuWeather meteorologists expect a maximum storm surge of 3-6 feet mostly along and just to the right of the storm's path".

The storm is moving northwest at 5mph (8km/h).

Elsewhere, more than 120,000 customers in Louisiana and another almost 6,000 customers in MS and Alabama were without power Saturday, according to poweroutage.us.

This weekend's Rolling Stones concert has been delayed. Then on Sunday, it should be churning through northern Louisiana, NOAA forecasts. The date of the concert could potentially change again due to the lingering impacts from Barry.

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