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Flooded New Orleans braces for 'extreme' Storm Barry

Tropical Storm Barry gathered strength Friday as it chugged toward water-logged New Orleans, which girded for heavy rains, storm surge and flooding that pose a threat reminiscent of 2005's deadly Hurricane Katrina.

The weather system, which has already caused major flooding in the low-lying city, is expected to reach hurricane strength Friday or early Saturday when it nears Louisiana's coast, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

LaToya Cantrell, mayor of the city known around the world for its jazz music and Mardi Gras celebrations, warned residents to review their emergency plans and supply kits, and to stay updated with the latest forecasts.

With Barry just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from the mouth of the Mississippi River, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and two parishes called for mandatory evacuations in some locations.

President Donald Trump tweeted his concern to "everyone on the Gulf Coast," urging them to prepare their homes for the storm and heed the directions of federal, state and local officials.

In 2005, Katrina – the deadliest hurricane in US history – submerged about 80 percent of New Orleans, leading to more than 1,800 deaths across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

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