Trump declares federal emergency in Lousiana before Tropical Storm Barry

Trump declared a federal emergency for Louisiana on Thursday night, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts ahead of the strengthening of Tropical Storm Barry.

Trump accepted the federal help at the request of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who noted that within the past 24 hours, 28 parishes had issued emergency warnings and 14 were within the process of doing so. Residents have been stacking sandbags or fleeing to higher ground in preparation for torrential downpours, with heavy flooding expected as soon as the storm makes landfall from the Gulf of Mexico either late Friday or early Saturday.

Trump tweeted Thursday night: “To everybody on the Gulf Coast: As you make preparations to guard your homes & loved ones from flooding & the approaching storm, it’s imperative that you simply heed the instructions of @FEMA, State & Local Officials. We’re working closely w/ them. Please be ready, watch out, & be SAFE!”

Edwards expressed appreciation for the president’s action in a Twitter message of his own.

“Thank you, Mr. Trump, for quickly responding to my request for a federal disaster declaration,” the Democrat wrote. “We appreciate the support of the White House and our federal partners as we continue our unprecedented flood fight and respond to Tropical Storm.”

Edwards had declared a state of emergency Wednesday, authorizing activating as much as 3,000 troopers and airmen from the Louisiana National Guard forward of the storm, Baton Rouge’s WBRZ-TV reported. National Guard troops and rescue crews in high-water automobiles took up positions across the state as Louisiana braced for the arrival of the storm.

Barry could pack winds of about 75 mph, simply barely over the threshold for a hurricane, when it comes ashore, making it a Category 1 storm, forecasters mentioned. It’s expected to bring more than a foot and a half of rain in potentially ruinous downpours that could go on for hours because the storm passes by the metropolitan area of nearly 1.3 million individuals and pushes inland.