Barry showing signs of strengthening
July 12, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tropical Storm Barry is showing signs of strengthening as it aimed for the Louisiana coastline with a threat of surge and heavy rain.
The 11 a.m. ET advisory positioned the center of Barry 100 miles southwest from the mouth of the Mississippi River as it moved west-northwest at 5 mph. The center of the storm is expected to make landfall Saturday morning possibly as a hurricane, according to the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
There were a few rain bands moving through coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and southern Louisiana Friday morning, but dry air intrusion and wind shear is still keeping the bulk of the convection in the southern half of Barry.
Satellite imagery did show an increase in convection near the center of circulation late Friday morning, indicating some strengthening, which the NHC noted in their latest discussion. Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure drop to 998 millibars with wind speeds of 50 to 55 knots in the deepest convection. The NHC has bumped up the maximum sustained winds to 65 mph.
Most of the computer guidance is calling for some slight strengthening with respect to maximum sustained winds, but the biggest threat for Louisiana will be water. Storm surge warnings are in effect for parts of the Louisiana coastline.
The projected slow movement of Barry will also cause concern for flooding along the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River valley over the next few days.
Barry will not change the forecast much for the Big Bend and South Georgia. Rain chances will be in the likely category for Friday but drop to near 50% at most over the weekend. Rain chances will be greater the farther one goes west.
Rip currents will be a concern along the Franklin County coast Friday and Saturday with wave heights on the beach of 6 to 8 feet Friday and 6 to 10 feet possible according to the National Weather Service. Localized beach erosion is also possible.