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Relief in New Orleans but authorities warn Storm Barry is not over yet

New Orleans appears to have escaped the worst from a weakened Tropical Storm Barry.

Barry made landfall near Intracoastal City, about 160 miles west of the city, according to the National Hurricane Center.

New Orleans had been braced for the worst, with its flood defences expecting their biggest test since Hurricane Katrina brought tragedy to the region 14 years ago.

But by the early hours of Sunday, the city’s outlook had improved greatly.

Tourists walk on Bourbon St. during Hurricane Barry in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. July 13, 2019
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New Orleans had prepared for the worst but appears to have escaped most of it

For just a few hours, Barry reached maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, just above the 74 mph required for a Category 1 hurricane.

On Saturday evening, there had been only light showers and gusty winds and forecasters said the rainfall may be limited to 2-4in (5-10cm).

However, the storm is moving so slowly that city officials have warned its effects may be prolonged.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said: “The slow pace pushed the timing of expected impacts further into today, tonight and Sunday.

“This means that New Orleans residents are not out of the woods with this system.”

Benches and walkways are flooded by water along the Berwick River in Morgan City, Louisiana ahead of Tropical Storm Barry Saturday, July 13,2019
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The Berwick River in Morgan City, Louisiana, saw heavy rain

Some other parts of Louisiana were hit hard on Saturday, with highways flooded and people seen climbing onto rooftops to escape rising water.

Dozens of people had to be rescued in Terrebonne Parish, south of New Orleans, including a man whose home flooded.

In Baton Rouge the winds were strong enough to rock large trucks.

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards said: “This is just the beginning – it’s going to be a long several days for our state.”

There were also power cuts – more than 120,000 customers in Louisiana and another 6,000 in Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday.

Parts of Mississippi and Alabama also saw some heavy rain.

Lake Pontchartrain flood-gates are seen closed ahead of Tropical Storm Barry in New Orleans, Louisiana, on July 12, 2019
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Flood gates were closed in New Orleans, fearing a test for its defences

The National Hurricane Center said: “Life-threatening flash flooding and significant river flooding are still expected along Barry’s path inland from Louisiana and up through the lower Mississippi Valley, beginning late tonight and continuing through at least Monday.”

The storm is expected to weaken further on Sunday, becoming a tropical depression later in the day.

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