BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, said Thursday the state's National Guard is mobilizing to assist civilian emergency personnel and residents as Tropical Storm Barry bears down.
Tropical Storm Barry is expected to make landfall Friday or early Saturday as a hurricane with relatively weak winds but torrential rain, forecasters said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards declared an emergency and urged residents in the storm's path to begin evacuations as soon as possible.
"We are taking a very proactive and aggressive approach in our preparations for the storm," Curtis said. Many of the 3,000 Guard members authorized by the governor have already reported, the general said, and they are assisting with levee operations, evacuations and moving water and commodities where they may be needed.
To help better assist coordination efforts at the local level, the LANG has liaison officer teams in Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Terrebonne and Vermillion parishes.
Once the storm comes ashore, the Guard's No. 1 mission will be search and rescue, Curtis said.
"There are three ways Louisiana floods, the governor said, "storm surge, high river, and rain. We're going to have all three."
In addition to high-water vehicles and boats staged in over 20 communities across the state in possible affected areas, the LANG has helicopters ready to support search and rescue, evacuation and recon missions as needed.
The LANG is also moving and staging additional assets to the New Orleans area in order to provide a quick response as needed. Large quantities of drinking water, blankets and sandbags have been moved, delivered or positioned by the Guard to areas for distribution following the storm.
Sgt. 1st Class Denis Ricou of the Louisiana National Guard contributed to this report