President Donald Trump announced a federal declaration of emergency for Louisiana late on Thursday, July 11, in an effort to help the state prevent possible damage from imminent Tropical Storm Barry and put people in urgent situations first.
According to AccuWeather, Barry formed on Thursday morning and is spinning through the Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to make landfall along the Louisiana coast late on Friday or early Saturday as a potent tropical storm.
The National Hurricane Center declared Barry the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. In an advisory issued at 4 a.m. CDT Friday, the center said Barry is located at 28.1°N 90.2°W with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and crawling westward with little change in strength.
The storm may or may not become a hurricane before landfall, but it is expected to unload feet of rain along the Gulf Coast.
With the declaration of emergency, President Trump could authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate in disaster relief efforts, The Associated Press reported.
In a news release on Thursday night, DHS said it would focus on ensuring that people along the Gulf Coast stay safe during the storm.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards asked for a federal declaration of emergency in a letter sent to the Trump administration earlier on Thursday. He also asked that the state receive supplementary federal resources as soon as possible should they be needed.
The governor warned that Louisiana can suffer flooding from the storm surge, rain, and high rivers, because the Mississippi River has swelled with heavy rain and snowmelt upriver this spring.
the Trump administration has been coordinating with disaster-hit states helping them respond to emergencies. In a recent effort, the president skipped his political disagreements with Gavin Newsom, calling the California governor to pledge emergency funding to the state, which was hit with two devastating earthquakes.
In a tweet late on Thursday, President Trump urged people on the Gulf Coast to be careful and prepare for the storm.
To everyone on the Gulf Coast: As you make preparations to protect your homes & loved ones from flooding & the coming storm, it is imperative that you heed the directions of @FEMA, State & Local Officials. We are working closely w/ them. Please be prepared, be careful, & be SAFE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019