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New Orleans is already flooded — and the worst may be yet to come: Forecasters are predicting a hurricane

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, USA TODAY
Published 10:45 p.m. ET July 10, 2019 | Updated 10:46 p.m. ET July 10, 2019

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New Orleans is prepping for a hurricane. The flooding has already hit.

On the same day that a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration report warned Americans of a “floodier” future, some streets in Louisiana’s largest city, including in the famed French Quarter, looked more like rivers.

Lines of thunderstorms associated with a weather system that is predicted to develop into a hurricane by Friday struck New Orleans with as much as 7 inches of rain within a three-hour period Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

The city was engulfed with water, leaving residents to contend with swampy streets, overturned garbage cans and flooded vehicles. Some even paddled their way down the street in kayaks. 

There was a flash flood today in New Orleans and … I’m speechless pic.twitter.com/Xehtt04Qth

— T (@ticklemety) July 10, 2019

for those of us who couldn’t move our cars, because there was a tornado coming our way … please don’t drive through water and flood our cars with the wake #nowake#flooding#NewOrleans#nolapic.twitter.com/QsrZhWJi2t

— Meaghan Doherty (@mdoherty817) July 10, 2019

Chandris Rethmeyer said she lost her car to the flood and had to wade through water about 4 feet deep to get to safety. 

Rethmeyer said she was on her way home after working an overnight shift when she got stuck behind a car accident in an underpass and the water began to rise. 

“I was going to sit in my car and let the storm pass,” she said. “But I reached back to get my son’s iPad and put my hand into a puddle of water.”

And Valerie R. Burton woke up Wednesday to what looked like a lake outside her door.

New Orleans alreading flooding in the Bywater and the Tropical Depression hasn’t even hit pic.twitter.com/NTVfpXhL97

— Taylor McCrary (@T4McCrary) July 10, 2019

“There was about 3 to 4 feet of water in the street, pouring onto the sidewalks and at my door,” Burton said. “So, I went to my neighbors to alert them and tell them to move their cars.”

The tides were reminiscent of sudden flooding that took the city by surprise in August 2017. That flood not only required major repair efforts, but also exposed significant problems within the agency overseeing street drainage and lead to personnel changes at the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. 

Forecasters said that Louisiana could see up to 12 inches of rain by Monday, with some isolated areas receiving as up to 18 inches.

meanwhile in new orleans’ hurricane😂😂 they tired of that heat .. dude think he @ a waterpark 😭 pic.twitter.com/ln1vW2NIFP

— amariah;) (@bwa_amariah) July 10, 2019

New Orleans flood from my hotel. #nolaflooding#nola#neworleanspic.twitter.com/B3IjOt28Vh

— Atharva A Naik (@atharvanotveda) July 10, 2019

That heavy rain could push the swollen Mississippi River dangerously close to the top of the city’s levees, officials cautioned.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans said the agency was not expecting widespread overtopping of the levees, but there are concerns for areas south of the city.

The river was expected to rise to 20 feet by late Friday at a key gauge in New Orleans. The area is protected by levees 20 to 25 feet high, he said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency: “The entire coast of Louisiana is at play in this storm,” Edwards said.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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