Viewpoint: In the midst of a pandemic, we need to prepare for an active hurricane season

With all the rain we’ve had recently and Monday’s official start of hurricane season, I spent time yesterday ensuring my closest catch basin is in good working condition. After all, New Orleans is a city that floods, especially during hurricane season. With this year’s ongoing pandemic along with predictions of even more storms than usual, getting prepared for the inevitable deluge and updating our personal evacuation plan are especially vital. Weaker trade winds and warmer than normal ocean temperatures might be the official reasons that the National Hurricane Center expects 13 to 19 named storms and three to six Category 3 or greater hurricanes this year. Yet we can’t forget the impact of weather disasters farther up the Mississippi River or the impact of a storm that sits above our city for days at a time.

Parades canceled tonight; Muses and Babylon roll Friday, Chaos rolls Sunday

Tonight’s parades have been canceled as high winds associated with a cold front were predicted to move into the area, the New Orleans Police Department announced Thursday afternoon. The krewes of Babylon, Chaos, and Muses will be rescheduled to roll throughout the Carnival weekend as floats-only parades. 
The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Orleans Parish that is in effect from 6 p.m. this evening through 6 a.m. Friday (Feb. 21). Sustained winds between 15 and 25 mph, with frequent gusts up to 35 mph, are expected. Winds at this speed pose a danger to high profile vehicles, such as floats.

Danae Columbus: Should I leave my sandbags out forever?

Every time it rains hard, I worry that my home might be flooding again. I was in Mid-City on Saturday when the rain began, and I quickly headed back downtown. Along the way, standing water overflowed every intersection, even after I reached the CBD – which until recently had always been a pretty dry area. As I finally approached home I could see a dutiful neighbor standing in knee deep water in an effort to slow down the wake from passing vehicles. Just that morning, I had carefully swept away all the remaining dirt and debris from the previous week’s flooding.

Uptown comes back to life under a light rain

Tropical Storm Barry continued to cause rain and sparse street flooding Uptown for the second day. On Sunday, however, many residents were out and about. Restaurants, bars and grocery stores opened and the city slowly came back to life.  

Waiting for Barry: Bars stay open as storm warnings close the city down

The car is on high ground, the porch furniture secured, the freezer emptied and the kitchen well stocked with water, whiskey, peanut butter and canned tuna. Then there was nothing to do but wait Saturday as Tropical Storm Barry came ashore as a Cat 1 but showed little interest in New Orleans. Most of the businesses along Magazine Street heeded the warnings  and sandbagged their closed doors. But bar owners knew their businesses were among the essential services out in full force as the city remained under a tropical storm warning. So Uptown residents tired of sheltering-in-place found a place to gather.

Don’t let your guard down yet, New Orleans officials tell residents

As Barry made landfall today as a Category 1 and then weakened to a tropical storm, the mayor and other city officials told residents to stay the course because the worst may be yet to come. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for New Orleans. “To quote the Weather Service, this is just a really weird storm,” City Council President Helena Moreno said during a Saturday press conference. “But because of that, it could be building. Later tonight, we could feel a bigger impact.

Barry upgraded to hurricane, moves slowly across southern Louisiana

Barry reached hurricane strength late Saturday morning with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, crawling northwest at 6 mph through southern Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said in its 10 a.m. update. The storm remained about south of Lafayette, and 50 miles west of Morgan City at 10 a.m., the hurricane center said. Its hurricane-strength winds were about 45 miles from the center, but tropical-storm winds could be felt as far as 175 miles away. “As it moves inland, Barry is forecast to weaken below hurricane strength in the next few hours, and it is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression on Sunday,” meteorologists said. As rain bands continue to come ashore, a high risk of flooding remains, the forecasters warned.

Barry moving slowly and carrying lots of water

Tropical Storm Barry was a “big swath of moisture” about 50 miles from Morgan City at 7 a.m. on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center reported as New Orleanians woke up to mostly calm skies. The slow-moving system was expected to come ashore as a Category 1 hurricane at mid-morning. Winds were at about 70 miles an hour, below hurricane strength. Regardless of whether Barry remains a tropical storm or becomes a hurricane, water is the main hazard from this storm, forecasters said. “It’s just an amazing amount of moisture,” NHC Director Ken Graham said at a 7:30 update.

Mayor: New Orleans stands ready for Barry

From the Mayor’s Office

Beginning this evening — stay home. That’s what city officials have been telling New Orleanians as te city remains under a tropical storm warning and Tropical Storm Barry threatens to turn into a Category 1 hurricane. “We are focusing on 8 p.m. this evening, asking people to stay at home and shelter in place,” Mayor Cantrell said. “Have commodities and supplies to last you an upward of 72 hours. We are continuing to monitor heavy rainfall, storm surge and levels of the Mississippi River.”