Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency as a tropical storm hurtles towards the US state of Louisiana.
Storm Barry has been gathering momentum in recent days and is expected to make landfall on Friday night or Saturday morning.
Meteorologists say that wind speeds have grown to 80 km per hour and may reach hurricane strength (120km/ph) by the time it makes landfall – making it the first hurricane of the 2019 season.
Residents in New Orleans have been barricading their homes and stocking up on supplies to prepare for the storm, which is predicted to bring rain fall of up to 64cm in parts, causing widespread flooding along the Mississippi River.
The city’s mayor, LaToya Cantrell, has not issued an evacuation order as the storm is not classified as a category three hurricane, however, many residents have left their hoes until the storm passes.
Trump took to Twitter this afternoon to urge residents in the area to stay safe.
“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,” he said.
“We are working closely w/ them. Please be prepared, be careful, & be SAFE!”
One of the biggest concerns is that the Mississippi may burst over it’s levees, something which as not happened in recent memory. However, officials say they expect water levels will rise to one metre below the height of the levee walls.
Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards said: “We have not been told to expect any water to overtop the levees anywhere along the MS River,” but added that heavy rain fall remains the largest threat from the storm.