A major storm has swamped streets in New Orleans and prompted a tornado warning near the city Wednesday as concerns grew that worse weather is on the way to Louisiana and other states along the Gulf of Mexico.
Water was up to the doors of many cars during the morning rush hour.
The storms were associated with a broad area of disturbed weather in the Gulf that’s expected to strengthen by this weekend when it threatens the region with torrential rain.
Once it becomes more intense, the weather system could push the already swollen Mississippi River precariously close to the Tops of levees that protect New Orleans, forecasters said.
“There could be a considerable amount of overtopping of Mississippi River levees in Plaquemines Parish on both the east bank and the west bank,” Louisiana Governor Edwards said at a Wednesday news conference.
The parish is just southeast of New Orleans and includes many of the city’s suburbs.
It is not just New Orleans that’s at risk, the Governor said. National Guard troops and high-water vehicles will be positioned all over the state, he said.
“The entire coast of Louisiana is at play in this storm, and we’re talking about as much as 10 to 15 ins (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain over a 24-hour period that will start Friday so that is a short time period for such intense rain,” Governor Edwards said.
The governor said he would declare a statewide emergency later Wednesday.