As fears of flooding, tornadoes, and prolonged power outages increased, Tropical Depression Barry dumped rain as it slowly swept inland through Gulf Coast states Sunday.
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.
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, with isolated pockets of 15 inches.
In Mississippi, forecasters said 8 inches 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.
About 112,000 customers in Louisiana and another 5,000 customers in Mississippi were without power Sunday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.
In Mandeville, north of New Orleans along Lake Pontchartrain, Michael Forbes was 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.”
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.
"A big risk of major flooding in large parts of Louisiana and all across the Gulf Coast," the president tweeted. "Please be very careful!"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.