Barry is set to hit land Saturday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.
And as of Saturday morning, more than 48,000 across in Louisiana were without power, according to state electric providers.
Katrina fears linger on
With Hurricane Katrina on their minds, many New Orleans residents fled the region while others have chosen to buckle up and ride the storm.
Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, who lives in the city’s Broadmoor neighborhood, flew out ahead of the hurricane. The neighbors she left behind all have vivid memories of the 2005 destruction, she said.
“This storm is stressing them out,” Gulliver-Garcia told CNN. “Trauma stays in your body, and Katrina left a lot of trauma behind.”
But many — despite the haunting 2005 memories — are determined to ride it out. Herman Grady evacuated during Katrina, but this time, he’s staying back.
Real danger is the rain, governor says
Barry’s potential hurricane status isn’t the only concern. It’s the heavy rains and flooding that’ll be left behind after the storm passes.
“We are talking about 18-24 hours after landfall, the rain will still be coming down and will be the issue,” Guy said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said some areas could see up to 25 inches of water.
“Nobody should take this storm lightly just because it’s supposed to be a Category 1 (hurricane) when it makes landfall,” the governor said. “The real danger in this storm was never about the wind anyway, it’s always been about the rain and that remains a very significant threat.”
When the ground is as saturated as it already is in the region, the governor said, the risks are endless. “It doesn’t take much wind to cause a tree to fall or a utility pole to fall,” he said. “These hazards are going to present themselves all over the state.”
With up to 30 inches of rain projected for the region this weekend, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi worries it may be more than the city’s drainage system can handle.
Mississippi River is going down
Earlier this week, officials warily eyed the Mississippi River as it continued to rise and exceeded its usual midsummer levels.
The next crest will occur Monday, according to the weather service, following more rainfall expected in the next two days.
National Guard members activated
Following President Donald Trump’s state of emergency declaration, Louisiana officials have activated 3,000 National Guard members in anticipation of Barry’s path of destruction, the governor said.
Despite the state’s post-Katrina storm defenses, the governor urged residents and community leaders to be prepared.
Across the coast, many cities and parishes have issued mandatory evacuation orders, the governor said. For the first time since their construction, all major floodgates on the Mississippi River are closed, he added.
The state’s forces have mobilized and anticipate multiple search and rescue missions once Barry hits, the governor said.
Canceled flights, cruises and a concert
Some singers postponed their concerts for this weekend to Monday.
“Hang on to your tickets,” the Rolling Stones told fans after moving a concert scheduled for Sunday to Monday.
CNN’s Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.