Tropical storm strengthens as it nears Louisiana

AP Photo

Tropical Storm Barry is strengthening as it approaches the Louisiana coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. Saturday advisory that the storm's maximum sustained winds have increased 5 mph over the past several hours to 70 mph (115 kph), with higher gusts.

Barry is expected to reach hurricane strength by the time its center reaches the Louisiana coast, expected before noon local time. The storm is expected to weaken after it moves inland.

The storm is moving northwest at about 5 mph (7 kph), and a turn to the north is expected late Saturday or early Sunday.

Weather forecasters say Barry could dump between 10 and 20 inches of rain over south-central and southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.

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