** IMPORTANT **
The forecast for Tropical Storm Barry can change. As the storm organizes, new measurements of the storm environment will be factored into new forecasts over time. Do not check the forecast today and assume things will not change before the storm makes landfall. It's important to stay updated with new information at least once a day.
** WATCHES AND WARNINGS **
* A Flash Flood Watch includes Wayne County, Miss. until 1 p.m. Sunday.
* A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
* A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Southeast Louisiana.
* A Hurricane Watch is in effect for most of coastal Louisiana.
The primary impact zone for Tropical Storm Barry will be Southeastern Louisiana. In addition to winds over 70 mph, much of Southeastern Louisiana will be in line for over a foot of rain. Flash flooding will become likely. The Mississippi River flooding will likely continue. At New Orleans, the Mississippi is expected to crest on Saturday at around 19 feet. Levees protect New Orleans for river levels up to 20 feet, so that forecast of 19 feet is closer than we would like to see.
Tropical Storm Barry remains disorganized with the most widespread rain displaced to the south and southwest of the center. Ideally, deeper thunderstorms will begin developing near the core of the circulation. Heat released by the thunderstorms will warm and energize the core, and that can lead to intensification. Until then, fast strengthening is not likely.
** FOR MERIDIAN AND EAST MISSISSIPPI AND WEST ALABAMA **
Winds will likely stay well below tropical storm force (39 mph) unless Tropical Storm Barry shifts hard to the east. IF we are to get tropical-storm-force winds, they are mostly likely to arrive between 8 AM and noon Saturday.
We will still be on the eastern, wetter side of the storm's circulation. Occasional heavy rain that is more off than on will begin picking up this afternoon and tonight. That occasional rain will begin increasing Friday afternoon. Occasional rain will become widespread, persistent rain before midday Saturday. I'm hesitant to rule out a brief tornado, but the biggest tornado risk will likely pass well west of the WTOK viewing area. Again, this can change if the track adjusts to the east. Rainfall amounts of 5-8 inches are possible from Saturday through Monday. Locally higher amounts are possible, and localized flash flooding is possible. Saturday will be the biggest impact day. Rain will linger through Sunday, though it may begin diminishing after noon.
** PENSACOLA AND THE ALABAMA COAST **
It's summer, and the Blue Angels are scheduled to fly over Pensacola Beach this weekend. There are plenty of reasons to make the trip to the Coast.
Occasional heavy rain will grow more widespread and persistent Friday night and Saturday morning. The persistent onshore wind flow can lead to coastal flooding in areas that are frequently flooding - Dauphin Island, the Mobile Bay Causeway, etc. The persistent onshore wind flow also combined with increasing ocean swells will also lead to dangerous rip currents. RIP CURRENTS ARE LIKELY FROM SOUTH FLORIDA TO TEXAS, even well away from the storm. The Gulf waters will not be safe for swimming through the weekend.
None of this screams good news for the Blue Angels Air Show at Pensacola Beach on Saturday. At last check, the Blues still plan to fly on Saturday. That is subject to change. If you are going to the Coast, be sure you have a rainy day plan that doesn't involve the beach. Even out of the water, the rainy days may just be miserable and blah.
** AIR TRAVEL **
Air travel may also be affected. Just before 1 PM, delays of more than an hour around Philadelphia with slightly shorter delays around New York City and Washington where being reported. These delays are from nearby thunderstorms. The Mississippi Lions Band is coming back from Italy today and tonight, and they have a layover in Philadelphia. They may be delayed landing depending on their schedule. Flights at New Orleans aren't likely to be widely affected until at least Friday night.