Forecasters are warning of heavy rain along the Gulf Coast because of Tropical Storm Barry. The storm is blowing 50-mile-an-hour winds in the Gulf of Mexico about 90 miles south of Louisiana, and residents in the Gulf states are bracing for torrential downpours. Heavy rain is expected in much of Louisiana and Mississippi, where over 20 inches could fall through early next week. Downpours are also expected in parts of Arkansas, Alabama and Florida. Flash flood watches are in effect for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. A storm-surge warning is in effect for most of southeast Louisiana, which means there's a life-threatening danger of rising water moving inland from the coast within the next 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall tonight or early Saturday. Forecasters warn it could turn into a hurricane before then. Strong winds are expected to cause power outages in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Tornadoes are possible in the region Saturday as Barry moves inland.
As Tropical Storm Barry moves closer to shore, the Mississippi National Guard is standing by in case it's needed for water rescues in this state or in Louisiana. Colonel Billy Murphy says the helicopters, swift-water boats and high-water vehicles are ready to go. And the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency which has been dealing with a series of weather disasters across the state this year is pulling people out of those field offices to help deal with Barry. MEMA director Greg Michel says he's especially concerned about how the heavy rain will aggravate the backwater flooding that's been a problem in the Delta since February.
WXXV Meteoroligist Rob Knight with the latest: