TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tropical Storm Barry continues to slowly strengthen in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Storm Team 8 has been tracking the disturbance for days now, watching closely as it strengthened and organized in the Gulf.
As of 5am Friday, NOAA Hurricane Hunters report maximum sustained winds around 50 mph and located 95 miles southwest of the Mississippi River. The National Hurricane Center says further strengthening is expected in the next few days.
The system is now beginning to turn to the northwest and head toward Louisiana. The slow movement of the storm will increase the risk of dangerous floods throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.
Several watches and warnings are in place in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Intracoastal City to Grand Isle, and a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to Grand Isle. The city of New Orleans is also under the Tropical Storm Warning. A Storm Surge Warning posted for Intracoastal City to Shell Beach.
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Shell Beach to the Mississippi/Alabama border and Lake Pontchartrain. A Hurricane Watch is posted for the mouth of the Mississippi River to Grand Isle. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from east of the mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
Storm surge inundation as well as flooding from rainfall will be the biggest concern in the central Gulf. 1 to 4 feet of storm surge is forecast on the Louisiana coastline. Barry will slowly move north through Louisiana and up through Arkansas through Monday. The slow forward progression will allow time for rain to accumulate to totals of 15 to 20″. Localized higher amounts are possible as well.