Tracking the Tropics: Tropical Storm Barry forms in Gulf

Tracking the Tropics
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — UPDATE: Tropical Storm Barry has formed in the Gulf.

We continue to focus on Potential Tropical Cyclone Two in the Gulf. A tropical depression will likely form in the Gulf today. After that, the system will drift westward and then northward in the northern Gulf. The depression is forecast to become tropical storm Barry later today or tomorrow as it sits over the warm Gulf waters. The latest projections have the system strengthening into a hurricane before landfall along the Louisiana coastline on Saturday. A hurricane watch, tropical storm watch, and storm surge watch cover the coastline of Louisiana.

Even though the system will get stronger, our impacts at this point remain the same. Our impacts will come in the form of flooding rain, rough surf, a high risk of rip currents and a small threat of damaging winds and/or an isolated brief tornado.

Rainfall totals could be anywhere from 5″-7″ near the coast. Rainfall totals will be a little lower farther inland. These rainfall projections are based on widespread totals, and it is possible that a heavy band of rain could bring double this amount to any single spot. Prepare for the possibility of flash flooding. A flash flood watch lasts through Sunday evening. This means flash flooding is possible.

A high surf advisory, high risk of rip currents and coastal flood watch last through Sunday. We could see water levels rise up to three feet, especially during high tide. Waves will also be 5-8 feet. This could cause coastal flooding. This will be a problem in the usual spots, like the causeway and other coastal roads that generally flood with a strong south wind. A high risk of rip currents means deadly rip currents are likely. The water is not safe. Do not get into the water when red or double red flags are flying.

Tomorrow and Saturday parts of the News 5 area have a risk for severe weather. Some of the stronger thunderstorms could bring damaging wind gusts. As typical with tropical systems in the Gulf, it is also possible for a few isolated weak tornadoes to form on the outer bands of this system.

Today we will see 70% coverage of showers and thunderstorms. This will hold high temperatures down into the upper 80s and low 90s. Scattered showers and thunderstorms stay in the forecast all the way through the weekend.

TAMPA (WFLA) – The National Hurricane Center has enough confidence that the disturbance in the Gulf will form between now and tomorrow. For now they have deemed the system Potential Tropical Cyclone Two. This allows them to issue Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings as well as a forecast cone.
Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for portions of the Louisiana coastline. These may be upgraded to Hurricane Watches and possibly Warnings as the system moves closer. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for the disturbance to strengthen into a category 1 hurricane before landfall. The current cone extends from the eastern portion of Louisiana to the eastern coast of Texas.
An Air Force Reserve unit reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance today at 2 pm. If they find a central area of lower pressure, the system will be classified as a tropical depression. There after, further organization and strengthening is possible for long as it stays over open water. If sustained wind speeds reach 39 mph near the center, the storm will be upgraded to a Tropical Storm and given the name “Barry.”
Models are all in good agreement on the storm slowly drifting west southwest in the Gulf over the next 24 hours before moving northwest towards the Gulf Coast. Until the storm moves far enough west, Tampa will see continue to see widespread showers and storms. The showers and thunderstorms will remain in the forecast through the end of the week as an onshore flow sticks around.

The northern Gulf Coast should continue to closely monitor the development of this system. Heavy rain will be likely from the Florida panhandle to the Texas Coast as the system moves ashore, regardless of development.
The National Hurricane Center is tracking the possibility of seeing storm surge impacts and warns that tropical storm or even hurricane force winds are possible in portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and the upper Texas coast.

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