By ALAN SMASON
Local officials cautiously awaited the arrival of bands of rain and heavy sustained winds associated with Tropical Storm Barry that were expected to begin moving into the metropolitan area at the onset of Shabbat, tonight, July 12.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni and Governor John Bel Williams held major news conferences throughout the day Friday as final preparations were put into place to secure area levees and place emergency crews and first responders into place prior to Barry’s landfall, which is expected to be near Vermillion Bay, according to storm trackers.
A state of emergency order signed by President Donald Trump on Thursday night, July 11, freed up federal resources in advance of the storm including the coordination of storm preparations with Homeland Security and representatives authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA).
With highest sustained winds on Friday night of approximately 65 m.p.h., Barry was still classified as a tropical storm, located 85 South Southwest of Morgan City moving forward at 4 m.p.h. Tropical storm warnings Grand Isle northward to the metropolitan New Orleans area and westward to Baton Rouge.
A storm surge warning of between 3 and 6 feet has been posted from Intracoastal City westward to Biloxi, MS. Rain and storm surge is expected to raise the level of Lake Pontcahratrain from 3 to 5 feet. The entire New Orleans area remains under a Flash Flood Watch with potential amounts of between 10 and 20 inches over the course of the next 36 hours.
The Jewish Fedearation of Greater New Orleans issued a statement earlier today and both JCCs remained closed until further notice. All area religious services have been suspended except for the Btesh Family Chabad House in the Uptown area on Freret Street and the Gerson Katz Chabad Center in Metairie on West Esplanade Avenue. Both Chabad locations will also hold worship services tomorrow morning.
In addition, Congregation Anshe Sfard will hold its regular Saturday morning worship services beginning tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.
(Editor’s note: The CCJN expects to continue coverage of what may become Hurricane Barry following the conclusion of Shabbat on Saturday night.)