The storm is moving northwest at 6 m.p.h., and forecasters predict it will continue through central Louisiana on Saturday night. Maximum sustained wind speeds are now near 70 m.p.h. and tropical-storm-force winds are extending outward up to 175 miles from the center.
But wind speed is not what is troubling much of the region. Experts predict possible rains of up to 25 inches in parts of southern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi, and the slow-moving storm could create big flooding risks in inland areas like greater Baton Rouge. Officials issued mandatory evacuation orders in communities along the coast, including parts of Plaquemines, Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell remained confident about the city’s response, but said flooding was still a threat, and warned people to not get comfortable.
“We are not out of the conditions that will cause heavy rainfall for the city of New Orleans,” Ms. Cantrell said at City Hall on Saturday morning.