Convection is really starting to build on the southern half of Tropical Storm Barry, but wind shear and drier air are keeping the system one-sided and unorganized. Barry is currently still at tropical storm strength, but has strengthened greatly with maximum sustained winds at 65 MPH and is moving to the west-northwest at 5 MPH. The minimum central pressure is at 998 MB or 29.47 inches.
Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center:
HURRICANE HUNTERS REPORT BARRY IS STRENGTHENING
DANGEROUS STORM SURGE, HEAVY RAINS, AND WIND CONDITIONS EXPECTED ACROSS THE NORTH-CENTRAL GULF COAST
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
Changes with this advisory… A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for Lake Pontchartrain and east of Shell Beach to Biloxi Mississippi.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Intracoastal City to Grand Isle
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle
* Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans
* Intracoastal City to Cameron
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Intracoastal City to Biloxi
* Lake Pontchartrain
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* Biloxi to the Mississippi/Alabama border
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle
* Intracoastal City to Cameron
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Barry was located near latitude 28.2 North, longitude 90.4 West. Barry is moving toward the west-northwest near 5 mph (7 km/h). A motion toward the northwest is expected to begin later today, followed by a turn toward the north Saturday night. On the forecast track, the center of Barry will approach the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana through tonight and then make landfall over the central Louisiana coast on Saturday. After landfall, Barry is expected to move generally northward through the Mississippi Valley through Sunday.
Reports from Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast before landfall, and Barry is expected to be a hurricane when the center reaches the Louisiana coast. Weakening is expected after Barry moves inland.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km) from the center. The NOAA automated station at the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River recently reported sustained winds of 54 mph and a wind gust of 60 mph at an elevation of 125 ft.
The minimum central pressure based on aircraft and surface observations is 998 mb (29.47 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…
Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach…3 to 6 ft
Shell Beach to Biloxi MS…3 to 5 ft
Intracoastal City to the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River…3 to 5 ft
Lake Pontchartrain…3 to 5 ft
Biloxi MS to the Mississippi/Alabama border…2 to 4 ft
Lake Maurepas…1 to 3 ft
Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.
RAINFALL: Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over south-central and southeast Louisiana along with southwest Mississippi, with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches.
These rains are expected to lead to dangerous, life-threatening flooding over portions of the central Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley. Over the remainder of the Lower Mississippi Valley, total rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are expected, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches.
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected in the Hurricane Warning area tonight or Saturday, with tropical storm conditions beginning during the next several hours. Hurricane conditions are possible within the Hurricane Watch area by tonight or Saturday morning. Tropical storm conditions are spreading across the Tropical Storm Warning area in southeastern Louisiana at this time. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the Tropical Storm Watch area by tonight or Saturday. Wind gusts to tropical-storm force in squalls are possible along portions of the coasts of Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle through Saturday night.
TORNADOES: A couple tornadoes are possible this afternoon through tonight across southeast Louisiana, far southern Mississippi, and the Alabama coast.
The next update from the NHC will be out around 1:00 pm. I’ll have a post out soon after that with the details. Stay tuned.