Tropical Storm Barry Threatens Louisiana

Tropical Storm Barry threatened Louisiana on Thursday.  A low pressure system formerly designated at Potential Tropical Cyclone Two strengthened into Tropical Storm Barry on Thursday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Barry was located at latitude 27.8°N and longitude 88.7°W which put it about 95 miles (150 km) south-southeast of the Mouth of the Mississippi River and about 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana.  Barry was moving toward the west at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1005 mb.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the portion of the coast from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the portion of the coast from the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.  A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued for Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and New Orleans.

The circulation around Tropical Storm Barry exhibited more organization on Thursday morning, but there were not a lot of thunderstorms near the center of circulation.  Many of the thunderstorms were occurring in bands wrapping around the western and southern sides of the circulation.  Bands in the northern half of the circulation consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  Winds to tropical storm force were occurring in the southeastern part of Tropical Storm Barry.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 100 miles (160 km) from the center in that quadrant of Barry.  The winds were weaker in other quadrants of the circulation.

Tropical Storm Barry will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 36 hours.  Barry will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30.5°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Tropical Storm Barry will intensify slowly until more thunderstorms form near the center of circulation.  If thunderstorms consolidate around an inner core, then rapid intensification would be possible.  Tropical Storm Barry is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane on Friday.

Tropical Storm Barry will move around the southwestern part of a ridge of high pressure over the southeastern U.S.  The ridge is likely to steer Barry slowly toward the west during the next 12 to 24 hours.  Tropical Storm Barry will move more toward the northwest when it moves around the southwestern part of the ridge.  There is still some uncertainty about the timing and location of the turn toward the northwest.  Based on its anticipated track Tropical Storm Barry could approach the coast of Louisiana on Friday night.

Tropical Storm Barry is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall.  It will bring strong, gusty winds to coastal regions of Louisiana.  Those winds will also push a storm surge toward the coast.  The storm surge could be up to 6 to 8 feet (2 to 3 meters) near where the center makes landfall.  Tropical Storm Barry could drop heavy rain when it moves inland.  Many rivers and streams are already high and locally heavy rain could cause flooding in those locations.

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