As the Atchafalaya River continues to rise due to the rains of Tropical Storm Barry, it becomes harder to see the Morgan City name on the sea wall, Saturday, July 13, 2019 in Morgan City, La. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Depression Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf Coast states Sunday, sparing New Orleans from a direct hit but stoking fears elsewhere of flooding, tornadoes, and prolonged power outages.Though the system was downgraded to a tropical depression Sunday afternoon and its winds were steadily weakening since it made landfall Saturday in Louisiana, Barry’s rain bands created a flooding and tornado threat stretching from central Louisiana to eastern Mississippi and beyond. Several parishes or counties in both states were under flash flood warnings.Far from the storm’s center, tornado warnings were issued Sunday morning in both states, though no serious damage or injuries were reported.On Sunday evening, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was „extremely grateful” that Barry had not caused the disastrous floods that had earlier been forecast.”This was a storm that obviously could have played out very, very differently,” he said. „We’re thankful that the worst-case scenario did not happen.”President Donald Trump asked people across the region to keep their guard up, saying on Twitter Sunday: „A big risk of major flooding in large parts of Louisiana and all across the Gulf Coast. Please be very careful!”Forecasters warned of a continued threat of heavy rains into Monday as the center of the storm trudged inland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday parts of south-central Louisiana could still have rainfall totals of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), with isolated pockets of 15 inches (38 centimeters).”This rainfall is expected to lead to dangerous, life-threatening flooding,” forecasters wrote in an advisory Sunday.In Mississippi, forecasters said 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of Jasper and Jones counties, with several more inches possible. With torrential rain pounding the state’s Interstate 59 corridor, only the headlights of oncoming cars were visible on the highway, and water flowed like a creek in the median.Barry’s center continued to move through northern Louisiana into Arkansas. The system, which had briefly become a Category 1 hurricane, had its maximum winds fall to 35 mph (56 kph).New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Sunday the city was „beyond lucky” that rainfall there fell well short of early predictions of a deluge that could overwhelm the city’s pumping systems.”We were spared,” she said at a news conference, while noting the city was ready to help nearby parishes hit harder.In a sign that the city was returning to normal, flights were resuming Sunday at its airport. Restaurants reopened, and people were retrieving their cars from medians and other high ground.About 60,000 customers in Louisiana, 3,300 customers in Mississippi and another 1,200 customers in Arkansas were without power Sunday evening, according to poweroutage.us.Carrie Cuchens, who lost power at her home southeast of Lafayette, said crews were out working to remove trees that fell on power lines. Forecasters say the area, where several parishes were under a flash flood warning, could see 2 inches (5 centimeters) of additional rain on Sunday. Though some yards had pooling water, Cuchens didn’t think her or her neighbors’ homes would flood.”There’s certainly water, certainly a lot of water, and as it continues to rain there’s always that concern,” she said.Another worry is that large trees could topple because of the saturated ground.”If this rain sits on top of us, the ground of course now is already saturated,” she said. „The roots are so saturated that if any wind, or any kind of shift happens, they’re easier to come up out of the ground. It’s not snapping limbs – it’s the whole entire tree. We have 100-year-old trees back here.”To the southeast in Morgan City, Lois and Steve Bergeron spent Sunday cleaning up their lawn, which was littered with debris from trees. They were grateful the damage wasn’t worse.”At least it didn’t hit our house,” she said.And in Mandeville, north of New Orleans along Lake Pontchartrain, Michael Forbes was also picking up limbs and other debris at his home as a drizzle fell. Water got under his house, which is on stilts, but there was no damage and the power never went off.”I’ll take this any day over something like Katrina,” he said Sunday. „This will clear out, we’ll clean up and we’ll go on.”_Drew reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Jay Reeves in Mandeville; Rogelio Solis in Morgan City; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Colleen Long in Washington and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina._For the latest on Tropical Storm Barry, visit https://apnews.com/Hurricanes .
A couple walks their bikes through a flooded street after major storm Barry came ashore in Mandeville, Louisiana on July 14, 2019
Mandeville (United States) (AFP) – Barry weakened further on Sunday as the storm churned across the US state of Louisiana, bringing along heavy rains and the possibility of flooding and tornadoes.
There have been no reported deaths so far in Louisiana or neighboring states from Barry, which had briefly become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season before the National Hurricane Center downgraded it to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression.
Still, as the storm moved inland on a northern track, it packed a serious punch.
Louisianans kept a wary eye on rivers and canals badly swollen by the torrential rainfall, following an extraordinarily wet season farther up the Mississippi River.
This is „the wettest year we’ve had since 1895,” Major General Richard Kaiser, who heads the Mississippi River Commission, said on Fox News.
He said the broad river is „the highest it’s been for a long time” — just below flood stage.
Bands of heavy rain continued to lash New Orleans, the state’s biggest city, but its airport was able to resume normal service after canceling all flights on Saturday.
Fears that the levee system protecting New Orleans could be compromised eased.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who a day earlier had urged residents not to be complacent, said in a news conference Sunday that „we absolutely made it through the storm. We are lucky; we were spared.”
– Dangers remain –
As of 4:00 pm Sunday (2100 GMT), the storm’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 35 miles (55 kilometers) per hour. It was located north-northeast of Shreveport in western Louisiana, moving towards Arkansas, the National Hurricane Center said.
„Further weakening is expected as the center moves farther inland, and Barry is forecast to degenerate into a remnant low pressure system by Monday night,” the NHC said.
US Senator Bill Cassidy said of the storm on Fox News: „We have seen worse.”
Evacuation orders had already been lifted in several locales including Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, where up to 10,000 residents had been under orders to leave.
But on Sunday, National Guard members were still laying down sand-filled barriers in a bid to contain flooding after „severely high water” overtopped levees in the Plaquemines town of Myrtle Grove, according to parish information officer Jade Duplessis.
Pete Gaynor, acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Fox that „there are still life-threatening conditions.”
„The rain is the threat,” he added, noting that floodwaters farther up the engorged Mississippi will be moving south in coming days.
Many coastal areas remained on alert.
Tornadoes were possible in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, the NHC said.
Rainfall estimates lowered further to between three and five inches (8 to 13 centimeters) over south-central Louisiana but rivers and canals are already near capacity.
Across southern Louisiana, Barry’s heavy winds scattered tree branches and knocked down power lines, leaving an estimated hundred thousand people without electricity. Reporters saw localized flooding and badly swollen waterways.
– Memories of Katrina –
The eye of the storm made landfall Saturday at tiny Intracoastal City.
Rivers overtopped their levees in several locations, including part of coastal Terrebonne Parish.
The Atchafalaya River swallowed a waterfront pedestrian promenade in Morgan City.
For many, the storm revived unpleasant memories of Hurricane Katrina.
While thousands of Louisianans fled for safety as the storm approached, others hunkered down to ride it out, sometimes defying mandatory evacuation orders.
On the huge Lake Pontchartrain’s southern shore in northern New Orleans, 72-year-old retired postal worker Mike Pisciotta shrugged off Barry’s local effects as he stood on the lake’s levee.
„It hasn’t really been anything,” he said, while acknowledging that other areas were harder hit. „I guess we are lucky.”
On Pontchartrain’s northern edge, 61-year-old Gerard Braud, a communications consultant, said there was five feet (1.5 meters) of water under his elevated lakefront home.
„It extended back in some places, five, six, seven blocks from the lake,” he said, adding, „Water levels are the biggest threat in a weak storm like this.”
Not far away, Michael Forbes, 61, a prosecuting attorney, said lake levels were far higher than normal due to wind blowing water in from the Gulf and Mississippi River water being channeled into the lake to ease flood pressure.
„People are used to it, and they’re scared of it, too,” he said. „Every year it’s a worry.”
In 2005, Katrina — the costliest and deadliest hurricane in recent US history — submerged about 80 percent of New Orleans after the city’s levee system failed, causing about 1,800 deaths and more than $150 billion in damage.
Residents of Louisiana felt the full brunt of Tropical Storm Barry’s rainfall overnight as they woke to find localized flooding and hundreds of thousands of customers without power across the state.
First responders rescued 93 people from 11 parishes as a result of the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news conference Sunday afternoon. Thirteen of those people and two pets were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
There were no reports of weather-related fatalities, Edwards said.
Rain was expected throughout Sunday, especially in Louisiana, even as nearly 7 inches of rain had fallen in Montrose, Alabama, and just over 6 inches fell in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, through the first day of the storm.
Edwards advised Louisiana residents to continue to remain vigilant as several inches of rain were still expected through Sunday night, especially in southern Louisiana, which could lead to flash flooding, as well as tornado watches in nine parishes until 7 p.m. local time.
The hurricane protection systems in southern Louisiana functioned well, even though the storm surge that was originally anticipated did not occur. However, Edwards said he was „grateful” that the „worst-case scenario” in rain and flooding did not occur.
President Donald Trump tweeted his support to the residents of Louisiana and the surrounding areas on Sunday morning.
„A big risk of major flooding in large parts of Louisiana and all across the Gulf Coast,” he wrote. „Please be very careful!”
By Sunday evening, power had been restored to about 188,000 customers, Edwards said. Some of those customers had power restored multiple times to do the ongoing weather event.
The levees have held in most prominent cities, but a levee was over-topped in Terrebonne Parish, on the coast southeast of New Orleans, where the Coast Guard rescued 12 people and two dogs by helicopter.
„Every storm is different and sometimes we want to think we know what to expect from today’s storm based on what we’ve experienced in the past,” Edwards said. „And we continually learn that lesson, but every storm is different.”
The storm is now moving over land, but it is not over. Life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding are still expected from Louisiana up through the lower Mississippi Valley through Monday.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Barry (all times local):
Louisiana’s governor says he is „extremely grateful” that Tropical Depression Barry did not cause the disastrous floods that had earlier been forecast.
In a news conference Sunday evening, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Barry’s rains could have been much worse. He says the state is now better prepared for future storms.
Edwards says more than 90 people have been rescued from 11 parishes because of the storm. He does not believe there have been any weather-related fatalities.
The governor urged residents to be cautious when going outside and to avoid any downed power lines.
Federal officials say the response to Tropical Depression Barry has gone well, although they remain concerned about the risks of flooding and heavy rainfall.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan says he was briefed on the storm and response efforts Sunday afternoon.
Neil Jacobs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says significant rainfall is expected to fall as the storm continues moving inland.
McAleenan says officials are keeping a close watch over Barry, but are optimistic. He praised Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and local officials for their response to the storm.
Officials say there have been 13 rescues and nearly 90,000 customers in Louisiana remain without power. Of the 23 shelters still open, fewer than 300 people remained.
Tropical Storm Barry has now weakened to a tropical depression, but forecasters warn flooding rains and tornadoes are still possible as the storm winds down.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami downgraded the storm in a Sunday afternoon advisory and removed all tropical storm warnings.
Forecasters say Barry’s maximum winds are down to 35 mph (55 kph). Its center was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) north-northeast of Shreveport in northwest Louisiana.
The National Weather Service says flooding rains and tornadoes are happening well east and south of the storm’s center and should continue into Monday as what remains of Barry moves north into western Arkansas.
As Tropical Storm Barry slowly winds down and moves away, storms well away from the center have prompted a rash of tornado warnings.
The warnings have been in the outer bands of the storms just east of Baton Rouge and in Mississippi.
Some trees have been knocked down and minor damage reported to buildings in East Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, but no serious damage or injuries have been reported.
Forecasters say the chance for tornadoes In Mississippi and east of the Mississippi River in Louisiana will continue throughout Sunday.
Louisiana authorities say that a family they tried to rescue from high water was doing OK and preferred to stay in their home.
KTBS-TV reported that rescuers tried Saturday night to reach the family near Franklin, which is about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Lafayette.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office was eventually able to reach the family, but they preferred to stay in their home.
Deputy Steve Dooley said that authorities drove through water that was almost impassible but made it eventually to the house where the family was.
He said: „We made it to the house, and they just didn’t want to come out.”
Deputies told the station that they weren’t aware of any injuries from the storm in the parish.
Tropical Storm Barry’s winds weakened slightly to 40 mph (65 kph), but the risks associated with the storm – including flooding and tornadoes – are sparking new concerns.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 11 a.m. Sunday advisory that the storm’s center was located about 50 miles (85 kilometers) south-southeast of Shreveport, Louisiana, and was moving north at 9 mph (15 kph).
The center discontinued a storm surge warning it had issued from Intracoastal City to the mouth of the Atchafalaya River.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for parts of Louisiana including East Baton Rouge until 10:30 a.m. CDT. A flash flood warning was in effect for Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, and Vermilion parishes until 1:15 p.m. CDT.
Flights are arriving and departing again from the New Orleans airport as Tropical Storm Barry heads north.
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport said in a statement Sunday morning that most airlines are returning to normal operations. The airport is advising passengers to arrive at least two hours early as they could encounter long lines.
Delta Air Lines spokesman Drake Castañeda said Sunday that the Atlanta-based company resumed normal operations in New Orleans Saturday night. Castañeda said Delta flights from Atlanta and New York landed in New Orleans shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday.
- First responders in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana posted a warning on Saturday for areas with Hurricane Barry flooding.
- „If the area you live in has high water, watch out for snakes and other critters who are trying to escape the flood waters as well,” reads the Facebook post from St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1.
- The message had a collection of images attached, which show snakes on porches and fences.
- The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness also re-posted a video from a Louisiana family who found a small alligator under their grill.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
As Louisiana continues to experience heavy rain and overflowing levees from Hurricane Barry, officials are reminding citizens to be wary of one of the less publicized side-effects of major flooding.First responders in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana posted a warning on Saturday about snakes and other creatures who may turn up in unexpected places.snake flood louisiana”If the area you live in has high water, watch out for snakes and other critters who are trying to escape the flood waters as well,” reads the Facebook post from St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1. The message had a collection of images attached, which show snakes on porches and fences.The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness also re-posted a video from a Louisiana family who found a small alligator under their grill.”We’ve told you about the possibility of interaction with animals during a flood event,” reads the Twitter update.#hurricanebarry #lawx pic.twitter.com/Xpb5DvjtEu Notably, when Hurricane Florence hit in 2018, officials in South Carolina warned of dangerous snakes from South Carolina’s wetlands getting displaced, hiding under debris, and possibly appearing in citizens’ homes.Read more: Horrifying video shows dozens of cockroaches fighting to stay above Tropical Storm Barry floodwatersAccording to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, most of the state’s snakes are harmless. There are, however, two categories of venomous snakes in Louisiana, which include species like copperhead, cottonmouth, and rattlesnakes.Information on how to treat a snakebite can be found on the department’s website.
Quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia; one killed
JAKARTA (Reuters) – A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck the Moluccas islands in eastern Indonesia on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported, killing one person and causing panic among residents.
The quake occurred at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) in an area 168 km south-southeast of the city of Ternate, the USGS said.
Indonesia’s meteorology agency (BMKG) recorded the quake at 7.2 magnitude and was not in danger of causing a tsunami.
The country’s disaster mitigation agency said on Twitter a woman in South Halmahera died due to the quake, without giving further details.
Within less than four hours since the main quake, the disaster agency recorded at least 30 aftershocks, it added.
The quake hit hours after a magnitude 6.6 struck offshore Western Australia, south of Indonesia.
Iksan Subur, an official with Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency based in the regency of South Halmahera, near the earthquake’s epicentre, said people in the area panicked and ran out of their houses.
People who lived near the ocean left for higher ground despite reassurances from officials that the quake did not have tsunami potential.
In a video uploaded on Twitter a few hours after the quake, authorities asked people to return to their houses.
The BMKG said the main quake was felt in other parts of Indonesia, including cities on Sulawesi island and in Sorong on Papua island.
Last week, the BMKG issued a tsunami warning, which was later lifted, after a magnitude 6.9 quake hit off the northeastern shore of Sulawesi, west of Sunday’s quake.
Indonesia is situated on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is frequently hit by earthquakes and sometimes accompanying tsunamis.
The most devastating in recent Indonesian history was on Dec. 26 in 2004, when a magnitude 9.5 quake triggered a massive tsunami that killed around 226,000 people along the shorelines of the Indian Ocean, including more than 126,000 in Indonesia.
Last year, a tsunami hit the city of Palu in Sulawesi, killing thousands.
(Reporting by Tabita Diela, Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Ed Davies and David Evans)
Labuha (Indonesia) (AFP) – A major 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the remote Maluku islands in eastern Indonesia Sunday, sending panicked residents running into the streets, but no tsunami warning was issued.
The shallow quake struck about 165 kilometres (100 miles) south-southwest of the town of Ternate in North Maluku province at 6:28 pm (0928 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey.
„The earthquake was quite strong, sending residents to flee outside. They are panicking and many are now waiting on the roadside,” said local disaster mitigation official Mansur, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Officials were assessing the situation but there were no immediate reports of casualties, he told AFP.
In the town of Labuha, one of the closest to the epicentre, panicked residents took to motorcycles in a bid to flee to higher ground, according to an AFP photographer in town when the earthquake hit.
Local disaster official Ihsan Subur told Metro TV that no damage or casualties had been reported there so far, but residents took to the streets and many evacuated to higher ground.
„Electricity went of during the earthquake, but now it’s back to normal,” Subur said, adding that at least seven big aftershocks were felt after the initial quake.
The province was also hit by a 6.9-magnitude tremor last week.
Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific „Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people, with another thousand declared missing.
On December 26, 2004, a devastating 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 across the Indian Ocean region, including around 170,000 in Indonesia.
MOSCOW (AP) — Residents of a city in Siberia don’t need to fly off to tropical locales for picturesque selfies taken by pristine turquoise waters. Thousands of Novosibirsk residents — ranging from scantily clad women to newlyweds — have been busy instagramming near a bright blue lake nicknamed the „Siberian Maldives.”
The lake is blue, however, due to a chemical reaction between toxic waste elements from a local power station. Environmentalists are warning people against coming into contact with the water.
„We can compare it only with photos of the Maldives,” said Sergey Griva, a local who visited the lake, adding he’s never been to the Maldives and couldn’t find it on a map.
Dmitry Shakhov, a Russian environmentalist, warned that the water in the lake can cause allergic reactions or even chemical burns if ingested or touched.
„This water is saturated with heavy metals (and) harmful substances,” he said.
The Siberian Generating Company said Friday it has deployed guards to keep trespassers at bay, but insists the lake presents no environmental danger.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man has been charged with the illegal killing of a polar bear in violation of federal law.
Chris Gordon of Kaktovik shot the bear outside his home, leaving the carcass there for five months without salvaging any part of it, according to federal prosecutors.
„Mr. Gordon allegedly left butchered whale meat outside in front of his yard of his residence for a substantial period of time, which attracted polar bear, as well as other animals,” said Ryan Tansey, a Fairbanks-based federal prosecutor.
Gordon, 35, faces a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 if convicted, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported .
Gordon declined to comment about the case, which is scheduled for an August court appearance in Fairbanks.
Self-defense killings of animals are allowed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. But Gordon did not report the polar bear or tag it as required., Tansey said.
Coastal Alaska Natives also may harvest polar bears for crafts or subsistence, but not in a wasteful way.
The North Slope village has become a destination for tourists and polar bears in a warming Arctic.
Mike Gallagher, a city council member in the village, is among Kaktovik residents who have expressed concerns about the encroaching bears.
„The bear’s underneath my house in the morning when I go to work,” Gallagher said at a public meeting in June. „Would it be your kid? Would it be my kid? It could be anybody down the street. These bears are getting used to people. They’re domesticated.”
Following the fruitless exhumation, Vatican police decided to hold new searches in the area of the cemetery where the remains of Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe, who died in 1836, and Princess Carlotta Federica of Mecklenburg, who died in 1840, should have been.
Vatican authorities said their bones could have been moved over the years due to structural works at the cemetery in the 1960s and 1970s.
Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Saturday the searches had centered on the area adjacent to the princesses’ tombs, inside the Pontifical Teutonic College. There investigators identified two ossuaries – or set of bones – located under the pavement of an area covered by a manhole.
Mr Gisotti added the area was immediately sealed off and the ossuaries will be opened in the presence of forensic experts on July 20 for further investigations.
The two set of bones could belong to the two princesses, but could also bring the search for Orlandi a step forward.
The daughter of a Vatican bank employee, Orlandi disappeared in June 1983 after leaving her family’s Vatican City apartment for a music lesson in Rome. Over the years,there have been many rumours, some wilder than others, about what happened to her – including conspiracies tied to the Mafia, the Vatican bank scandal and the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
The new inspections were a result of the ongoing efforts of the Orlandi family to find the truth about the disappearance of their relative.
The Vatican gave the green light to the exhumations after the family received an anonymous note last summer, hinting that the girl’s remains might be in one of the two graves located in the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery.
According to the letter, Orlandi’s body should have been found in the tomb that an angel holding a sheet saying: “Rest in peace” points to from its location on the cemetery wall.