New Orleans' levees face a hard test as storm bears down

In a Friday, May 10, 2019 file photo, workers open bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, to divert the rising water from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, upriver from New Orleans, in Norco, La. The Army Corps of Engineers expects to begin closing the Bonnet Carré Spillway north of New Orleans sometime in the second or third week of July. The corps began opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway on May 10 to relieve stress on levees protecting New Orleans. | Photo Source: AP Photo / Gerald Herbert
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans residents are warily eying the levees that protect their city from a swollen Mississippi River as Tropical Storm Barry approaches the Gulf Coast.

Never in the modern history of New Orleans has water from the Mississippi River overtopped the city's levees.

That could change this weekend if it turns out forecasters are underestimating the storm's flooding threat.

On Thursday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers models weren't calling for water from the river to rise above New Orleans' levees.

However, Corps spokesman Ricky Boyett said the height of the river levees remains the Corps' greatest concern with this storm, which could dump 10 to 15 inches of rain on New Orleans through Sunday.