Barry crawls ashore in Louisiana, weakens to tropical storm

Crude Oil

Crude oil prices calmed Thursday as Opec forecast slower demand for its crude in 2020, even as crude futures remained at their highest in more than a month as oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated ahead of the hurricane season's first tropical storm.

Barry rolled into the Louisiana coast Saturday, flooding highways, forcing people to scramble to rooftops and dumping heavy rain that could test the levees and pumps that were bolstered after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

July 13, 2019, 3:17 p.m. EDT: The National Hurricane Center advised that after making landfall in Louisiana, Barry weakened to a tropical storm.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit an area west of New Orleans, and affect the wider region.

TRT World's Philip Owira reports.

Hurricane Barry unloaded powerful winds and heavy rains as it finally made landfall Saturday along the Louisiana coast. Tracking forecasts showed the brunt of the storm blowing into the Louisiana delta west of New Orleans on a path that could continue toward Chicago, swelling the Mississippi River basin with water that must eventually flow south again. Dog walkers and a street sweeper rambled by.

"Brent crude oil. extended its gains as storms in the Gulf of Mexico halted production of oil and United States oil inventories continued to recede more than expected", ANZ Bank said in a note.

With Barry threatening massive rainfall across several southern states, federal emergency declarations were issued to help free up resources to address the storm. That could balloon to US$3.2 billion if floods overwhelm New Orleans, he said.

Some Plaquemines residents were battening down to ride out the storm, despite mandatory evacuation orders.

U.S. crude stocks fell 9.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, shrinking more than triple the 3.1 million-barrel draw analysts had expected as refineries ramped up output, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

Earlier this week, officials warily eyed the Mississippi River as it continued to rise and exceeded its usual midsummer levels. "If we see the water rising here, we'll leave".

"I'd say they fear it every time", said Brown, 58, who survived Katrina and was staying behind to lo ok after the medical center.

City officials warned New Orleans residents to secure their homes, stock up on supplies and prepare to huddle indoors.

"So here's the takeaway: risky situation", he said during an online presentation Thursday. "New Orleans had already gotten 10 inches of rain over the last 36 hours and some places were already facing major flooding problems".

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States is tracking the storm as it makes landfall.

New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana, are among the cities at high risk of flooding.

A coastal storm surge into the mouth of the MS is expected to push its crest to 19ft in New Orleans, the highest level since 1950 and dangerously close to the top of the city's levees.

Still, coastal flooding and the overtopping of other levees has already begun, and the brunt of rain has yet to come.

Barry was reportedly heading west-northwest across the northern Gulf of Mexico at 5 miles per hour on Friday.

The New Orleans area is protected from the mighty Mississippi River by levees that started going up right around the time of the city's first settlers three centuries ago.

After Katrina was blamed for more than 1,800 deaths, by some estimates, the Army Corps of Engineers began a multibillion-dollar hurricane-protection system that isn't complete.