TS BARRY

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center has Tropical Storm Barry becoming a hurricane-strength storm as it crosses the Louisiana coast late Friday or early Saturday, but where Barry may come ashore is still a matter of debate.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the center of Barry was located near latitude 27.8 north, longitude 89.3 west. Barry is moving toward the west near 5 mph and this motion is expected to continue tonight. A turn toward the northwest is expected on Friday, followed by a turn toward the north on Saturday.

The latest cone of uncertainty from the National Hurricane Center has the storm coming ashore near the Iberia/St. Mary parish line. But guidance from the National Hurricane Center has the storm coming ashore anywhere between New Orleans and Lake Charles.

Currently, a hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of Louisiana from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle, with a tropical storm warning is in effect for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the coast west of Intracoastal City to Cameron. A storm surge watch is also in effect for Lake Pontchartrain.

The forecast shows Barry's center near or over the central or southeastern Louisiana coast Friday night or Saturday, and then moving inland into the lower Mississippi River Valley on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are currently near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected during the next day or two, and Barry could become a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday when the center is near the Louisiana coast.

Weakening is expected after Barry moves inland.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the center. An oil rig east of the Mouth of the Mississippi River recently reported sustained winds of 40 mph and a wind gust of 52 mph at an elevation of 525 feet.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1003 mb (29.62 inches). 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 current storm surge predictions are for 3 to 6 feet south of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach, 2 to 4 feet from Shell Beach to the Mississippi/Alabama border, 2 to 4 feet from Intracoastal City to the mouth of the Atchafalaya River, and 2 to 4 feet on Lake Ponchartrain

Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.

Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches.

Hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning area by Friday night or Saturday morning, with tropical storm conditions expected by Friday morning. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by Friday night or Saturday morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread across the warning area starting late tonight, with tropical storm conditions possible in the watch area by Friday night or Saturday.

A few tornadoes are possible Friday late morning through Friday night across southeast Louisiana, far southern Mississippi, and the Alabama coast.

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