Barry upgraded to a hurricane in the Gulf

Slight track westward in track puts parts of SW Louisiana at a risk for even stronger winds by tonight

8:00 am Update: Tracking Barry and the impacts facing Southwest Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - 10 am Update: 10 am Barry Update: Barry becomes a hurricane with winds of 75 mph. The storm is 40 miles S of Lafayette. Movement of the storm is still very slow at 6 mph. Impacts for our area remain the same from the 10 am update.

7 am: 7 am Barry Update: Tropical Storm Barry now has sustained winds up to 70 mph. The storm is 50 miles WSW of Morgan city and 60 miles S of Lafayette. Movement of the storm is still very slow at 5 mph. Impacts for our area remain the same from the 4 am update.

4 am: Barry has maintained tropical storm strength with maximum sustained winds at 65 mph. This storm has picked up a little bit of speed now moving at 5 mph toward the WNW. The current location is about 55 miles SW of Morgan City. Landfall can be expected later this morning in South Central LA. The forecast cone has slightly shifted to the West with this update meaning tropical storm force winds will likely be felt across all of SWLA and gusts up to 70 mph cannot be ruled out.

1:00 am: Barry is still a tropical storm with sustained winds at 65 mph. This storm is still slowly moving toward the coast at 3 mph. With this slow speed, the National Hurricane Center believes that this storm will reach category 1 status before making landfall later today. Tropical Storm Barry is now located just 70 miles south of Morgan City. The track of this storm has remained the same meaning impacts for SWLA also remain the same.

10:00 pm: Barry still has sustained winds at 65 mph moving WNW at 3 mph. This storm is now 75 miles south-southeast of Morgan City, LA. Landfall is still expected Saturday morning around sunrise along the south central Louisiana coastline. The track has been nudged slightly to the west, but overall impacts for SWLA have not changed. We can still expect 5-7 inches of rainfall and sustained winds between 20-40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

7:00 pm: Barry continues with winds at 65 mph moving WNW at 4 mph. The latest update from the National Hurricane Center advises that Barry is expected to be a hurricane upon landfall. Landfall is expected Saturday morning along the south central Louisiana coastline.

4:00 pm: Barry remains a tropical storm despite the disorganization and the pressure dropping. With the pressure going down that would signal strengthening. The sustained winds remain at 65 mph as the storm moves to the west-northwest. Barry may still make landfall as a category one hurricane.

The track remains the same from previous advisories. That mean that Southwest Louisiana will likely have some impact this weekend, Saturday in particular. The biggest will be tropical storm force winds. So, the winds will be up to at least 39 mph and gusting around 40-50 mph.

Rainfall will be another issue with the worse still to the east side of the storm. Here in Southwest Louisiana, we may see 5-7 inches with 10 inches possible in heavier thunderstorms,

1:00 pm: No significant changes were made to the latest track. Barry should still make landfall somewhere near south central Louisiana sometime in the morning on Saturday. Barry may also reach hurricane strength prior to making landfall.

Barry is currently moving to the West-northwest at 5 mph and has sustained winds at 65 mph.

10:00 am: From the latest advisory, Barry has strengthened as expected. Winds are sustained at 65 mph. That still makes Barry a tropical storm. The latest track take Barry to make landfall somewhere in south central Louisiana. The track still goes to the northwest which puts parts of Southwest Louisiana under the center of the eye.

That will still bring some impacts to Southwest Louisiana by Saturday. Barry is expected to continue strengthening to a category one hurricane. It will quickly weaken after making landfall but will still bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds. The greatest threat still remains to the east of the storm so that puts Baton Rouge and New Orleans under worse conditions.

8:00 am: The forecast today begins to get busy between now and the weekend as we brace for impacts related to Tropical Storm Barry, set to make a landfall Saturday morning along the south-central Louisiana coastline. Just because the intensity forecast has dropped slightly, but major impacts will still be seen in parts of Louisiana, especially from Acadiana eastward through Baton Rouge and New Orleans where severe flooding is likely. Some areas will pick up over 20 inches of rain with this storm, surge could be life-threatening for coastal southeastern Louisiana, and winds could result in lengthy power outages for areas closest to the storms center.

Here in Southwest Louisiana, we will begin to see conditions gradually deteriorate by this evening with the onset of tropical-storm-force wind gusts and occasional tropical rain bands that could begin as early as this afternoon. We’ll be on the west side of landfall, so our winds will continue to remain out of the north which will again send the heat back into the upper 90s this afternoon and heat index values up to around 110 this afternoon.

Tropical Storm Warnings have been extended inland from Cameron to Allen and Jeff Davis parishes, and a Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the eastern portion of Cameron Parish. A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect for parishes in Acadiana closer to Lafayette and points east.

This storm should not be taken lightly, even it does manage to come ashore as a weaker tropical storm due to the heavy rain and flood threat this storm poses. Highest rain totals will come for areas east of where the storm makes landfall, with portions of Acadiana, mainly east of Lafayette but heavier rain bands could train over portions of Southwest Louisiana as the storm moves closer to landfall and through Sunday and could poses a threat for some flash flooding here in Southwest Louisiana as well. This is a situation that will need to be monitored closely over throughout the weekend.

Storm surge will not be an initial concern for Southwest Louisiana with offshore northerly winds west of the eye, but once the storm moves well inland by Sunday, there will be a turn in winds to back out of the southwest and this will pull onshore winds in for most of the day Sunday and could begin to result in some water pile up along our coastline for the second half of the weekend. The persistent southerly wind will be delayed but could still produce a minor surge for Cameron and areas up the ship channel to Lake Charles by Sunday of 2 to 3 feet possible.

Other hazards involved with landfalling tropical systems are quick spin-up tornadoes within rain bands. This threat will be greater east of where the storm makes landfall, but not totally impossible to have on the west side of the eye, so that is also a threat we will be monitoring through the weekend.

If you’ve already made preparations for tropical weather to impact our area, you should be okay this weekend. Our website and mobile app has a list of sandbag locations throughout Southwest Louisiana. There is a possibility of sporadic power outages beginning late tonight as tropical-storm-force wind gusts begin to arrive and that continued possibility will remain in place through the weekend. Widespread lengthy outages don’t appear likely for our area, but any loss in power could be bad due to the extreme heat we’ve seen this week. Just yesterday, our high hit 99 with a 110 heat index.

Stay tuned for updates through the weekend with Facebook live videos at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day which will give more extensive updates on the current projections and forecasts related to Tropical Storm Barry, and be sure to download the free KPLC weather app for updates and live streaming in case you lose power at any point.

7:00 am: No major changes have taken place since the 4:00 advisory. Barry is still a tropical storm with winds up to 50 mph. Barry is also moving at 5 mph to the WNW. This is good that it is starting to turn to the north making it harder for Barry to reach Southwest Louisiana, Barry should remain a tropical storm even though winds are expected to strengthen to near hurricane strength. Since the track is still close to Southwest Louisiana, our impacts could still include heavy rain and gusty winds.

4:00 am: Tropical Storm Barry has sustained its current standing as a tropical storm with winds remaining at 50 mph. We have begun to see that northwesterly turn as the storm is now moving WNW at 5 mph. This storm is still lopsided with heavy convection on the southern side. Impacts in SWLA still remain including: heavy rainfall, gusty winds up to tropical storm force, and an isolated tornado chance. Continue to monitor media outlets for the latest updates through the day as we begin to see outer rain bands impacting southwest Louisiana this evening.

1:00 am: Barry has not changed from the 10 pm update. Winds are still at 50 mph and the track is the same. The one thing we are watching is how slow this system is moving because the longer it remains over warm Gulf water the better chance it has to strengthen.

10:00 pm: Barry has strengthened and we are now seeing winds up to 50 mph within this storm. The official National Hurricane Center track has not changed and still keeps southwest Louisiana in the cone. Residents need to continue to monitor the forecast for changes in the coming hours.

Barry has developed enough to be classified as a tropical storm. Barry formed in the Gulf as of the 10:00 AM advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center. No major shifts in track have occurred since earlier advisories, although landfall is now projected for Saturday morning across coastal St. Mary or Iberia parishes. The cone of uncertainty also continues to shift slightly to the east away from Southwest Louisiana.

Tropical Storm Warning in effect
Tropical Storm Warning in effect

Many watches and warnings have been issued for Louisiana. In Southwest Louisiana, there is a tropical storm warning for eastern Cameron, Jeff Davis, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Vernon, and Allen parishes. These are in effect until further notice. A hurricane warning is in effect from Vermillion parish to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Just about all of south central Louisiana is under a tropical storm warning as Barry approaches.

The current projected track would mean no surge or major wind issues for Southwest Louisiana, but until a definite track is nailed down, that threat cannot be totally discounted. Hopefully today, with an actual storm developing and a center of low level circulation to lock in on, we’ll have a better feel for exactly where this storm will make landfall on Saturday, but if recent trends from the past two model runs continue, a landfall further east is only a good thing for Southwest Louisiana, while not so good for our friends to the east in Baton Rouge and New Orleans with respect to the flood threat and the Mississippi River levee on the brink of overtopping.

Obviously, a lot rides on where this storm makes landfall, even if it’s to our east, with respect to wind here in Southwest Louisiana. A few miles difference at this point in either direction could mean worsening conditions or much calmer weather locally. Even if it comes ashore closer to Vermilion or Iberia parishes, we could still be in close enough proximity to have at least some tropical-storm-force wind gusts by as early as tonight or Saturday, but the odds of hurricane-force-winds would be much lower, barring any last-minute jog to the west of the track.

While a turn sooner to the north would not be a good for residents or SE Louisiana, it could be a better thing in general as it would likely mean a much weaker storm as it would spend less time over water and have less time to fully organize into anything other than at most, a category one hurricane. The more westward the push before the turn would give the storm more opportunity over water to strengthen which is an option of it were to move closer to the left side of the projected cone of uncertainty and affect SW Louisiana, so that is still something we need to watch closely.

Projected rainfall in SWLA
Projected rainfall in SWLA

At this point, don’t let your guard down yet in Southwest Louisiana, and if you’ve already made preparation, or still need to, you should continue to keep those in place as further track shifts are possible, although the current trends could mean much lower impacts to our side of the state if they continue today.

The easy part of forecasting hurricane landfalls is knowing what conditions you can anticipate based on what quadrant of the storm makes landfall, but the tough part of this storm is knowing with total certainty whether we see the left or right front quadrants which would lead to a much different outcome with one versus the other.

At this time, I would still be prepared for a similar forecast with respect to rainfall as outer tropical bands from future Barry should start to approach from the northeast by later today and tonight, although brief could be heavy at times. These rain bands should continue to pass with increasing frequency on Friday and especially Friday night and Saturday, but without the major flooding or storm surge threat if the trends of a more eastward push in the track continues with updates to the cone throughout the day today and tonight.

Stay tuned!

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