Just as Tropical Storm Barry looked like it was picking up speed, it decided to slow down a bit even as its winds are starting to be felt onshore.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Barry has been meandering during the past few hours, but is expected to pick up its west-northwest movement soon at about 4 mph. Where it was 70 miles from Morgan City at the 4 p.m. report, the center’s 7 p.m. estimate shows the storm 85 miles south-southeast of Morgan City. It is still moving on a course of 300 degrees.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from the center. A reporting station near Houma recently reported sustained winds of 33 mph with a gust to 48 mph. A wind gust to 43 mph was reported at Patterson within the past couple of hours.
According to the Iberia Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, strong winds should begin to be felt in Iberia Parish about 8 p.m., with heavy rains starting after midnight. Storm force winds will continue until Saturday night, with hurricane force winds possible Saturday morning.
Curfews are in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. tonight and Saturday night within the city limits of New Iberia, Jeanerette and Delcambre, as well as in St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.
The updated forecast graphic shows the storm track slightly westward from its 4 p.m. plot, heading closer to Lafayette. According to the narrative of the forecast, Barry should begin a harder turn toward the northwest during the next several hours, followed by a turn toward the north Saturday night or Sunday. The wind speed of 65 mph with higher gusts remains unchanged from the 4 p.m. update.
The advisory still shows Barry bringing a dangerous storm surge, heavy rains, and wind conditions across the north-central Gulf coast. The current track of the storm shows it dropping life-threatening rainfall of 15 to 20 inches -- with locally higher amounts possible -- over St. Mary, Iberia, and lower St. Martin parishes as it moves ashore. The latest advice predicts people will be trapped in homes in those areas due to flooding from the rains expected to drench the region during the slow-moving storm.
A storm surge of more than 3 feet is expected in coastal sections of Vermilion, Iberia, and St. Mary parishes, including Intracoastal City, Delcambre, Cypremort Point, and Burns Point.
The current forecast said damaging winds will cause scattered to numerous power outages, blow down trees, and damage homes and businesses across south central Louisiana and parts of central Louisiana.
Isolated tornadoes are possible along the path of this storm in south central and central Louisiana.
The next partial National Hurricane Center update is expected at 10 p.m.