Press Release:- President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana as a growing tropical storm nears landfall.
Storm Barry has been gathering speed over the Gulf of Mexico in recent days.
Officials say sustained wind speeds have grown to 50mph (80km/h) and may still reach hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall.
It is expected to bring a storm surge and heavy rainfall to the city of New Orleans – which has already seen thunderstorms and flash floods.
The National Weather Service warns that flooding from the slow-moving storm poses the greatest risk.
Between 10-20in (25-50cm) rain is forecast to hit the state, where the Mississippi River is already nearing flood levels.
The president’s declaration frees up wide-ranging federal resources which can be used to help in the emergency situation.
The National Weather Service (NWS) say the storm is continuing to crawl at speeds of 5mph towards Louisiana.
Forecasters believe it will make landfall late on Friday or early Saturday, before weakening over the Lower Mississippi Valley later this weekend.