Tropical Storm Barry is continuing to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico as it moves slowly toward land. Barry is expected to develop into a hurricane and directly hit the Gulf Coast by tomorrow (July 13). More than two million people live in areas where advisories and warnings are in effect. Far more people will experience rain as Barry moves inland.
According to NOAA, the storm system currently has winds reaching 65 mph. But the truly dangerous element of this storm is the amount of rain it’s going to dump over the southern states.
Parts of Louisiana and Mississippi are expected to get between 10 and 20 inches of rain, with some areas at risk of getting as much as 25 inches, according to NOAA. Forecasters say Barry is moving slowly, meaning that the rain will just keep on coming for long stretches of time. You can track Barry’s real-time progress from the National Hurricane Center here.
Here’s what you need to know.
Morgan City, Louisiana & Approximately 11,000 Residents Are Anticipating a Direct Hit
The latest on Tropical Storm #Barry: There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge along the coast of southern and southeastern Louisiana, portions of Lake Pontchartrain, and portions of coastal Mississippi, where a Storm Surge Warning is in effect. pic.twitter.com/Pt3qmI0D4p
— National Weather Service (@NWS) July 12, 2019
The National Weather Service is expecting Barry to have strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches land. The first community bracing for a direct hit is Morgan City, Louisiana.
Morgan City is located about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans. According to 2018 census data, the city has about 11,000 residents.
The city’s mayor, Frank Grizzaffi, told the New York Times on Thursday that community members were busy stocking up on supplies, making sure generators are working and filling sandbags as they waited for Barry to hit. “We’ve been dodging the bullet for the last 10 years. Every time a hurricane comes up, it’s somewhere near Morgan City. This time, I think we’re finally going to get it.” The city was spared major damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and again in 2008 when Gustav and Ike hit the state.