Barry weakens to tropical depression

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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.


New Orleans had been braced for heavy rains Saturday, but instead had intermittent bands of moderate showers and occasional sunshine. Also on Saturday, authorities closed floodgates and raised water barriers around New Orleans. It was the first time since Katrina that all floodgates in the New Orleans area had been sealed.

In other parts of Louisiana on Saturday, Barry flooded highways, forced people to scramble to rooftops and dumped heavy rain, as it made landfall near Intracoastal City, about 160 miles west of New Orleans. Downpours also lashed coastal Alabama and Mississippi.

More than 140,000 customers in Louisiana and another more than 4,000 customers in Mississippi were without power.

In Alabama on Saturday, flooding closed some roads in low-lying areas of Mobile County in Alabama, and heavy rains contributed to accidents, said John Kilcullen, director of plans and operations for Mobile County Emergency Management Agency.

Barry will continue to dump rain throughout the weekend.

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