A state of emergency is in place in Louisiana as the region braces for Tropical Storm Barry, which could strengthen to a hurricane. The weather system is expected to make landfall in the next 24 hours, pushing a storm surge ahead of it.

New Orleans is preparing for intense flooding and services across the city are likely to be affected. The National Weather Service has issued a storm surge watch for Pearl River to Intracoastal City, warning that there is a ‘possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline in the watch area.’

Evacuations are possible – visitors should be aware of what form evacuation notices will take, and should comply with all instructions from local authorities. Do not take detours or shortcuts.

The National Hurricane Center has further information and regular updates.

Travel advice

If you are in the region – 

  • Monitor the local weather forecast. Use a couple of different apps and/or websites to get information from multiple sources.  
  • Put aside a storm kit to help you wait out the worst of the weather. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, candles and matches, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
  • Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. Put together a grab bag that contains ID, travel documents, insurance information, medication, snacks and a bottle of water. 
  • Comply with advice from the local authorities. 
  • The UK’s FCO recommends following @nolaready and @NWSNewOrleans. You might also want to follow @UKinTX @UKinUSA @FCOtravel. Enable push notifications, so that you will know as soon as new information is shared. 
  • Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline after your phone battery has died.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too. 
  • Stay indoors – damaged buildings continue to post a threat. Downed power lines can be deadly.
  • Let people know where you are – friends and family, the local consulate, your travel agent/tour company, etc.
  • If you are likely to be making a claim on your travel insurance, review the documents so you know what information you will need and what the process for making a claim is.
  • Monitor local media.
  • Keep mobile devices charged. 
  • Be prepared for delays and disruption.
  • If something bad happens, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are heading to the region soon – 

  • Check in with your airline and travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted. 
  • Monitor media reports.
  • Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly. 

Official travel advice

For more advice on what to do in the wake of a cyclone or hurricane, please visit the Red Cross and Ready.gov.

Further news and information

New Orleans, States Along Gulf Brace for Torrential Rains

NEW ORLEANS, LA. – A tropical weather system was expected Wednesday to develop into a storm that could push the already swollen Mississippi River precariously close to the tops of levees that protect New Orleans….

Read the full article at the publisher’s site: https://www.voanews.com/usa/new-orleans-states-long-gulf-brace-torrential-rains

Storm may push Mississippi River to tops of levees that protect New Orleans

The low pressure area was over water, south of the Florida Panhandle early Wednesday and was expected to strengthen into a storm as it moved west through the Gulf’s warm waters. Forecasters say parts of Louisiana could see up to 12in (30….

Read the full article at the publisher’s site: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/10/mississippi-river-levees-new-orleans-rain-flooding

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