Barry Could Become A Hurricane in Gulf of Mexico

Barry Could Become A Hurricane
07/09/2019, 4:12 pm EDT
Louisiana Flood Potential Assessment
07/12/2019, 8:32 am EDT
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Barry may become a hurricane before Saturday landfall.

Fig. 1: Preliminary forecast track of Tropical Cyclone Barry by Climate Impact Company.

Discussion: An organizing area of thunderstorm activity in the northeast Gulf of Mexico is centered around Tropical Disturbance 92L due south of the coastal FL/AL state line. Light wind shear is across, west and south of 92L. A high pressure centered on the Tennessee Valley will provide east-northeast to west-southwest steering of 92L today/tonight as this system continues to move away from the coast over 29C/85F anomalous warm water. Given light shear and warm water surface 92L should become a tropical depression today and a tropical storm tonight. The next storm name is Barry. By tomorrow TS Barry is forecast southeast of New Orleans in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The Climate Impact Company forecast track is based on a consensus of GFS and ECM operational forecast and tropical cyclone model forecasts. The ECM has generally been farthest west (TX/LA state line strike) while tropical cyclone models have been farthest east (central Louisiana coastal strike). Tropical cyclone model intensity forecasts are stronger…well into the tropical storm force range with one model near minimal category 2 hurricane strength. Given the warm water of the northern Gulf and duration of time to develop over that warm water a hurricane is expected into the northwest Gulf of Mexico coastline Saturday.

Steadily building issues begin tonight and Thursday including organizing heavy rain profile with squalls moving inland the northern Gulf Coast anytime. Increasing onshore fetch of an easterly wind will increase wave heights and cause a rising sea for areas of south, southeast and east exposure in the north/northwest Gulf of Mexico tomorrow night and Friday. Extreme rainfall presents itself across southern Louisiana to the upper Texas Coast later Friday. Southern Mississippi/Alabama could also be in the heavy rainfall envelope. Tropical storm force wind affects the Louisiana coast by tomorrow night with hurricane force wind into southwest Louisiana Friday night and Saturday.

Barry is a slow mover and weakens very gradually while shifting the heavy rain envelope into the Mid-South States late this weekend.

Fig. 2: Thunderstorm activity is developing rapidly in the northeast Gulf of Mexico due to Tropical Disturbance 92L.

Fig. 3-4: Tropical cyclone model tracks are biased toward central/southeast Louisiana while intensity forecasts are generally in the tropical storm force range with one model reaching minimal category 2 hurricane force.

Fig. 5-6: NOAA/WPC rainfall forecast for Friday and the weekend.