St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office inmate workers move free sandbags for residents in Chalmette, La., Thursday, July 11, 2019 ahead of ahead of Tropical Storm Barry from the Gulf of Mexico.
There have been reports of downed power lines on the island, Sabatini said, but flooding on Highway 1 and other areas has prevented crews from accessing the island.
Pamela Hughes will ride out the storm in her mother's trailer in Port Sulphur, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, she said. "The challenge is just getting there to assess the damage at this point, so it might be a little while before we have a more solid idea of what's going on there".
Authorities took unprecedented precautions: The governor said it was the first time all floodgates were sealed in the New Orleans-area Hurricane Risk Reduction System.
New Orleans officials asked people to keep at least three days of supplies on hand and to keep their neighborhood storm drains clear so water can move quickly.
Barry is expected to cross the coastline southwest of New Orleans on Saturday morning.More news: Trump says immigrant deportations to start this weekend in 10 cities
"It's deeper than they believe it to be, and also there's current that sometimes is imperceptible", Edwards said.
"Everything I own is in it", he said of his truck. But Mayor LaToya Cantrell said 48 hours of heavy downpours could overwhelm pumps created to purge streets and storm drains of excess water. He lived through Hurricane Katrina, and like so many residents, isn't taking any chances again.
Not all storms will be wetter as a result of climate change, but on average more of them will, scientists said.
The level of Lake Pontchartrain, an estuary on the city's northern flank, rose by 3 feet on Friday, triggering the closure of a flood gate on a canal that breached during Katrina, said Derrick Boese, chief administrator for the local flood control agency.
Green group Environment America said there were more than 100 Superfund environmental cleanup sites and 17 oil refineries in the path of the storm.
New Orleans' network of drainage pumps, underground pipes and canals were overwhelmed earlier this week by rain.More news: Manchester United left stunned by Newcastle's £50m asking price for Sean Longstaff
"It performed well", he said, adding, "you never know exactly what Mother Nature's going to throw at you".
Barry's downpours could prove to be a severe test of the improvements made to New Orleans' flood defenses since the city was devastated by Katrina in 2005.
"So here's the takeaway: unsafe situation", he said during an online presentation Thursday.
She said warmer air in the Gulf of Mexico will likely add fuel to the storm, while warmer ocean temperatures there will fill it with vast amounts of evaporated water that can lead to unsafe flooding.
The Florida Panhandle has seen double red flags go up in some areas, closing beaches, the weather service said.More news: Soccer star Allie Long says her LA hotel room was burglarized