The National Hurricane Center, which had labeled Barry the first Atlantic hurricane of 2019 just hours earlier, said the storm came ashore near Intracoastal City with maximum sustained winds that had dropped to 70 miles per hour (115 kph).
The storm downed trees and power lines around New Orleans. Firefighters were on the streets to evaluate the situation and direct traffic.
Further weakening to a tropical depression was expected on Sunday as Barry moved inland, the NHC said.
The threat of major flooding from the historically high Mississippi River overtopping levees appeared to have passed, but the storm could still bring dangerous flooding and storm surges to coastal regions southwest of New Orleans and to Baton Rouge and Lafayette due to its “lopsided” nature and slow speed.
U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas told reporters that authorities remain “concerned” characterizing Barry as a “very dangerous storm.”
Streets and businesses were flooded along Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, just north of New Orleans, according to a Reuters witness. And water went over the top of a “back levee” in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans in Myrtle Grove, a development of houses on stilts, with boat launches that sit on a canal, but that was expected, authorities said.
U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency for Louisiana on Friday, freeing up federal disaster assistance if needed.
Authorities had urged New Orleans residents to secure property, stock up on provisions and shelter in place. Some opted to flee the city, and tourism officials reported an exodus of out-of-town visitors on Friday.
The New Orleans Airport said all flights in and out on Saturday had been cancelled but most airlines were planning to resume operations on Sunday, weather permitting.