Tropical storm Barry has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, but the eye of the storm is having difficulty taking shape - and that's causing trouble for meteorologists as they continue to try to find the final path.
The biggest issues that the National Weather Service (NWS) can agree on are:
HEAVY RAINFALL THREAT:
Moderate to High risk of excessive rainfall to SE LA & SW MS.
- 📏10-15" of rain with significantly higher local amounts possible
- ⏰Heaviest rain expected Friday through Saturday night
- 🌧️Heavy rain could lead to widespread/life-threatening flash flooding
STORM SURGE THREAT:
- 📏3-6 ft of inundation possible in the storm surge warning area
- ⏰Water levels begin rising Friday with highest levels on Saturday
- 🌊Storm surge will flood coastal roadways and other low lying areas
- Barry is forecast to become a hurricane before landfall
- 🌬️Damaging winds possible along Barry's track
- ⏰Highest winds expected Saturday
- Marginal to Slight risk of tornadoes across the area
- 🌪️A few tornadoes possible in Barry's outer bands
- ⏰Greatest threat of tornadoes will be on Friday
Wherever Barry strikes, the eastern portion of the storm will contain the most rain. Officials and weather outlets are predicting anywhere from 15" to 20" of rain in those areas, causing life threatening flash-flooding and damage.
Currently, those rain totals expected for much of Livingston Parish - as a 'high' flood warning is in effect. Residents are urged to prepare for flash flooding, and can find a list of sandbag locations at the link below.
Any change in pressure, weather conditions, or eye formations could send Barry - which is expected to be a Hurricane by Friday evening's landfall - in a different direction.
Flash flooding is the main issue as the Amite River is just under 10 feet after several weeks of low rainfall. The Great Flood of 2016 saw the river reach 46 feet, after just over three feet of rain. Flood stage for the Amite, at Denham Springs, is 28 feet.
The biggest concerns for local officials are neighborhoods and subdivisions with ongoing drainage issues, as well as those that live near canals. Citizens who see debris or trash in canals and storm drains are asked to call the city of Denham Springs, City of Walker, or the parish to report the issue.
You can also report those issues to their respective Facebook pages.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Louisiana coast from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City. A Storm Surge Warning is now in effect for the Louisiana coast from the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Mississippi coast east of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi / Alabama state line, and for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for the Mississippi coast from the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi / Alabama state line.
Tropical Storm Barry is located as of 10 a.m. CDT over the northern Gulf of Mexico about 95 miles (150 km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It's moving toward the west near 5 mph (7 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue today. On the forecast track the center of Barry will be near the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana Friday night or Saturday.
Reports from Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected during the next day or two, and Barry could become a hurricane late Friday or early Saturday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) mainly to the southeast of the center.
Water is a primary hazard due to Potential Tropical Cyclone Two, do not take it lightly, the NWS' morning release said.
A Storm Surge Watch continues from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City. The water could reach 3 to 6 feet above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.
There is also high risk of flashing flooding in the region. The system is expected to produce total additional rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches near and inland of the central Gulf Coast through early next week, with isolated maximum rainfall amounts of 20 inches. Rainfall amounts exceeding 6 to 9 inches have already occurred across portions of the New Orleans metropolitan area, which has resulted in flooding.
Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches near and inland of the central Gulf Coast through early next week, with isolated maximum rainfall amounts of 20 inches across portions of eastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.