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article imageTropical Storm Barry forms in Gulf — Expect epic rain event

By Karen Graham     Jul 11, 2019 in Environment
A few hours after forming on Thursday, Tropical Storm Barry was slowly crawling across the northern Gulf of Mexico on a path toward the Louisiana coast where it was expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane Friday night or Saturday.
Tropical Storm Barry is slowly moving westward, bearing down on the northern coast of Mexico, however, a turn toward the west-northwest is expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Friday - putting the storm on course to make a beeline toward the Louisiana coast.
As of 1:00 p.m., the National Hurricane Center placed the storm about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and almost 185 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana.
The storm is moving to the west at 5.0 mph (7.0 kph) and has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) - just barely meeting the criteria for a tropical storm. The minimum central pressure is now 1006 MB...29.71 inches.
The forecast places Tropical Storm Barry near the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana Friday night or Saturday. This is also the time Barry is expected to become a hurricane.
Rainfall expected to be torrential
Torrential or as many people are saying "biblical" rains is the big story on the Gulf Coast today. “Barry is going to produce a tremendous amount of rain. So, there’s a lot of concern about flooding in New Orleans,” said WOFL meteorologist Jayme King, reports the Orlando Sentinel. “The French quarter is notorious for having awful drainage. The city is already saturated, and the Mississippi River is already high... We’re hoping they get through this okay.”
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. These rainfall amounts are in addition to the 8.0 inches or more of rain that was dumped on metro New Orleans Wednesday.
The big concern is that torrential rains could become a test for the flood-control infrastructure built in New Orleans since 2005′s Hurricane Katrina. Officials are also watching the Mississippi River's flood level because it is still very high. This means storm surge will become a serious problem.
The storm's surge could prevent water from emptying out of the mouth of the already-swollen Mississippi River, possibly sending water over levees near New Orleans, forecasters said. The river has been running high for months and as of Wednesday night, was expected to reach the top of the levees - right at 20 feet.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the pumping system that drains the city's streets is working as designed, but there is a concern that with the storm being slow-moving - the pumps won't be able to keep up with the amount of rainfall. "We cannot pump our way out of the water levels ... that are expected to hit the city of New Orleans," she warned, according to the Sun Sentinal.
More about Tropical storm, Barry, Coast of Louisiana, floodcontrol infrastructure, New orleans
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