NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Storm Barry's wind and rain are starting to hit Louisiana as New Orleans and coastal communities brace for what's expected to be the first hurricane of the season.

A hurricane warning was in effect along the Louisiana coast, and forecasters said the storm could make landfall as a hurricane by early Saturday.

But it's the storm's rains that are expected to pose a severe test of New Orleans' improved post-Katrina flood defenses. Barry could bring more than a foot and a half (0.5 meters) of rain to parts of the state as it moves slowly inland.

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Associated Press reporters Chevel Johnson and Rebecca Santana in New Orleans and Sarah Blake Morgan in Plaquemines Parish contributed to this report.

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