(In transit to Baton Rouge)
"Barry" is now officially a tropical storm and expected to make landfall in Louisiana this weekend as a Category 1 Hurricane.
As a reminder, Katrina's strength had been reduced to a Category 1 storm by the time it impacted New Orleans, and the vast majority of the damage was as a result of flooding. This storm is setting up as a major flood event across the entire Louisiana coast possibly extending up into Arkansas and Oklahoma. Rain totals will be 10-15 inches, with locally higher amounts possible.
+ + Huge threat, especially if levees are breached
This is a huge threat, especially with so much flooding already in the area and the Mississippi -- still high from excessive amounts of rain this spring and early summer -- expected to crest Saturday at the peak of the storm. If the levees are breached, it would be catastrophic. Even if the levees hold, there will be major flooding and we are bracing for a full disaster response by our Mercy Chefs team.
Ann and I will be in Baton Rouge tonight. "Mercy One" is staging nearby so we can be fully prepped and ready to roll by Saturday afternoon. I've been in contact with pastors and local officials across New Orleans, La Place, Baton Rouge and St. Bernard Parish.
We must absorb significant costs for a major disaster deployment well in advance of serving our first meals. That means the next 72 hours are vitally important to ensure that our Mercy Chefs team can maximize our impact once we are staged at "ground zero" of the strike.
With the serious danger posed by this storm becoming more and more apparent with each passing hour, can I count on your help to get our team fully ready for what could be a major deployment? Your tax-deductible gift to help our team pre-deploy in advance of this storm will make a huge difference. Go here to make your gift to help us here and with other vital efforts:
This storm has already been such a surprise. It started in Tennessee and backed its way into the Gulf! And it's coming on top of already serious flooding. I almost can't look at the pictures of water in the French Quarter, or mothers with children in their arms wading through the flooding in the Ninth Ward. It just can't happen again.
Please help Mercy Chefs as we stage for what could be a major deployment. Thanks in advance, and God bless!
Gary LeBlanc, Founder
P.S. If this storm stalls over Louisiana and pulls even more moisture out of the Gulf, this will be a huge problem. Water damage and flooding is the main concern in a region that as we know is extremely vulnerable to flooding. Please help us get ready to respond. We must expend resources, purchase supplies, and move staff NOW to respond as quickly and effectively as possible. Go here: