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‘Not going to move out real quick.’ Pay attention after Barry makes landfall, officials warn

Waveland resident hasn’t seen rain from Barry, but the street to her home is flooded

Waveland Resident Roxzana Moore lived in the area for more than 20 years. She said water is a constant problem. Although Hurricane Barry took its time to bring rain to the area, the Jordan River didn't need it to flood her street.
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Waveland Resident Roxzana Moore lived in the area for more than 20 years. She said water is a constant problem. Although Hurricane Barry took its time to bring rain to the area, the Jordan River didn't need it to flood her street.

Roxzana Moore doesn’t have any neighbors. That’s the trade off, she said, when you live in an area that’s prone to flooding.

Her house on pilings off Kiln-Waveland Cutoff Road was submerged underwater during Hurricane Katrina. The water rose to about 24 feet in 2005.

But Moore, who is from New Orleans, renovated her home she shares with her husband after Katrina. Now, when a storm like Hurricane Barry threatens the Gulf Coast, she moves vehicles to higher ground, picks up outdoor furniture underneath the house, and watches as overflow from the Jourdan River invades her yard.

Moore’s home was only accessible by foot Saturday before Barry made landfall near Morgan City, Louisiana.

“This is common,” Moore said. “Water is just a constant problem ... but anytime you have a hurricane, you may not even have a drop of rain, and you’re still going to get all this water.”

Tens of thousands of Louisiana residents lost power Saturday and faced severe thunderstorms and flash flooding Saturday morning. Barry made landfall on the Louisiana coast about 12:45 p.m. and weakened to a tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In South Mississippi, streets flooded early Saturday morning as rivers rose and rain fell. There was a tornado spotted in Jackson County. Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency.

Ahead of its forecasted landfall on June 13, Tropical Storm Barry battered the Gulf Coast with strong winds, storm surge and flooding, as seen in this video of the New Orleans lakefront on July 12.

While the Coast hasn’t felt as strong of an impact that was predicted earlier this week, emergency officials say to keep a close eye on the slow-moving storm. Rainfall and flash flooding could happen into Sunday.

Forecasters predicted Hancock County would feel the biggest impact from Barry on the Coast.

Flooding, however, was the main issue of concern early Saturday, said Brian “Hootie” Adam, director of Hancock County Emergency Operations.

Hundreds of streets in low-lying areas were impassible Friday and Saturday.

“The rain is not as bad as we thought it was going to be,” Adam said. By noon Saturday, he said about 3-5 inches fell across the county. He expects an additional 1-3 inches of rain on Sunday.

Barry, though, is a slow-moving storm, and Adam said until it passes through the area, he will prepare for the worst.

“Pay attention,” he said. “It (Barry) is not going to move out real quick. Don’t go into areas if there is water on the roads.”

John Upton of Climate Central tweeted video in the early morning of July 13 of flooded streets due to the storm surge from Tropical Storm Barry in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana.

Rupert Lacy, director of Harrison County Emergency Operations, said residents should monitor watches and warnings throughout the weekend.

“Don’t let your guard down ... we could still see high pockets of heavy rain,” Lacy said early Saturday afternoon.

The county is set to barricade streets flooded by the Tchoutacabouffa, Biloxi or Wolf rivers. Sheriff Troy Peterson said people who attempt to drive on those streets will be issued citations.

Adam and Lacy said river flooding on Sunday depends on how much rainfall the Coast receives.

A large alligator has trouble getting to the water on Beach Boulevard in Hancock County as Tropical Storm Barry brings storm surge that covers the road.

Justin Mitchell is the southern regional growth editor for the Biloxi Sun Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Macon Telegraph. He also reports on LGBTQ issues in the Deep South. He loves karaoke, Lizzo, the Kardashians and carbs.
Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.
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