Floating fire ants clump into 'rafts' in Barry floodwaters in Louisiana

During a flooding event like Tropical Storm Barry, floodwaters can be full of hazards: sewage, debris, animals and even floating clumps of fire ants.

AccuWeather reporter Jonathan Petralama spotted fire ant clumps that were "ready to crawl into my boots" in the water in Plaquemines Parish in southern Louisiana. While no levees along the Mississippi River have been overtopped or breached by floodwaters, some of the area's back levees overtopped, leading to localized flooding Saturday.


When floodwaters rise, the ants are able to group up and form a raft of sorts. They can reportedly survive in the water for weeks on end until the floodwaters subside and the insects can return to dry land.

SEE ALSO: Levees overtopped as Tropical Storm Barry soaks Louisiana
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High water overtopped a handful of back levees in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish on Saturday as Tropical Storm Barry moved ashore.



The National Hurricane Center said Saturday afternoon that the storm's maximum sustained winds had fallen to 65 mph. Officials expect Barry to weaken and become a tropical depression Sunday as it moves inland, meaning its winds would fall below 39 mph. Still, the center continues to warn of dangerous storm surge, heavy rains and strong winds.

The hurricane warning that had been in effect from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle has been downgraded to a tropical storm warning. Also, the Louisiana coast east of the mouth of the Mississippi River is no longer under a tropical storm warning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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