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You are here News Domestic (USA) New Orleans: evacuations ordered as city braces for possible hurricane

New Orleans: evacuations ordered as city braces for possible hurricane

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Louisiana braces for hurricane

Thousands of Louisianans broke out sandbags or fled to higher ground on Thursday as Tropical Storm Barry threatened to turn into the first hurricane of the season and blow ashore with torrential rains that could pose a severe test of New Orleans’ improved post-Katrina flood defenses.

National guard troops and rescue crews in high-water vehicles took up positions around the state as Louisiana braced for the arrival of the storm along its swampy southern tip Friday night or early Saturday.

Barry could have winds of about 75mph (120km/h), just barely over the 74mph threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a category 1 storm, forecasters said.

But it is expected to bring more than a foot and a half (45cm) of rain in potentially ruinous downpours that could go on for hours as the storm passes through the metropolitan area of nearly 1.3 million people and pushes slowly inland.

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