Tracking Tropical Storm Barry: Expected to strengthen before Saturday landfall

(image: WPMI) Tracking Tropical Storm Barry: Expected to strengthen before Saturday landfall
(image: WPMI) Tracking Tropical Storm Barry: Expected to strengthen before Saturday landfall

FLASH FLOOD WATCH through Sunday afternoon

4 p.m. NWS Update:

At 4:00 PM CDT (2100 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Barry was

located near latitude 28.7 North, longitude 90.9 West. Barry is

moving toward the west-northwest near 6 mph (9 km/h). A motion

toward the northwest should begin during the next several hours,

followed by a turn toward the north Saturday night or Sunday. 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 night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher

gusts. Strengthening is forecast before landfall, and Barry is

expected to be a hurricane when the center reaches the Louisiana

coast on Saturday. Weakening is expected after Barry moves inland.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km)

from the center. An oil rig located southwest of the Mouth of the

Mississippi River recently reported sustained winds of 74 mph and a

wind gust of 85 mph at an elevation of 295 ft.

Tropical Storm Barry continues to fight dry air and some wind shear. Despite those limiting factors, the storm has gradually gained strength and now has sustained winds of 65 mph. It's still possible the storm could reach hurricane strength (75 mph) before landfall on Saturday morning in Louisiana. Either way, it's going to be a soggy mess for Louisiana. The worst of the weather will be across southeast Louisiana and Mississippi.

Local impacts (Mobile and Baldwin Counties) from this storm will be stronger winds (20-30 mph), bigger surf (6-9 feet) and a HIGH risk of rip currents along our area beaches. In fact, most local beaches are flying double red flags which means swimming is not allowed.

Off and on feeder bands of rain from Barry will continue through the weekend. Total rainfall amounts will vary dramatically, depending on where these bands of heavy rain set up. Expect, on average a total of 3-5" of rain in Baldwin and Mobile Counties through the end of the weekend. Farther west, parts of south Mississippi may see 10 inches or more of rain.

Another danger from these fast-moving bands of rain are brief spin-up tornadoes. Even though the greatest threat lies across Louisiana and Mississippi, isolated tornadoes are possible in South Alabama.

The weather pattern returns to normal next week... hot and humid with pop-up afternoon storms.

Click for more wild video of Dauphin Island flooding