New Orleans hit with flooding ahead of possible hurricane

A tropical storm system in the Gulf of Mexico that could make landfall as a hurricane on Saturday started hitting New Orleans with flooding on Wednesday.

Torrential rain and thunderstorms have drenched coastal Louisiana already, with the National Weather Service predicting the Mississippi River will hit a record-breaking 20-foot crest by Saturday — the same height as many levees surrounding New Orleans.

Nearly 20,000 homes and businesses lost power due to Wednesday’s flooding. Conditions are expected to worsen when what could become Tropical Storm Barry makes landfall either as tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane in New Orleans on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center predicts.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a local state of emergency.

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