Barry likely to form soon, already bringing heavy rains to Louisiana

Good afternoon. Based upon the latest model data, not a whole lot has changed in the forecast from early this morning. That is to say, there is not a whole lot of additional clarity, but nor do we have reasons for heightened concerns for Texas.

As expected, the National Hurricane Center went ahead and began issuing advisories on what will almost certainly become Tropical Storm Barry—citing it as a potential tropical cyclone. Here is the official forecast track as of 10am CT, and I would not anticipate much change when the hurricane center updates at 4pm CT.

Official track forecast as of 10am CT. (National Hurricane Center).

There are several big questions that are driving uncertainty in the track forecast. One is where the center of the storm ultimately develops, as this could cause a significant shift in the track (i.e. further to the southwest would lead to a more westerly track, closer to Texas). The second big steering issue concerns an upper-level system over the Great Lakes that will help to break down a ridge of high pressure over the plains states. The sooner this ridge weakens, the sooner the storm can begin to move north instead of being forced westward.

Our general thinking remains that the most likely landfall location for the storm’s center will be somewhere between Galveston and New Orleans. Because heavy rainfall appears to be the primary threat, bar rapid intensification—which is not expected, but can’t be ruled out—the greatest impacts will be to the right of the storm’s landfall. Therefore the likelihood is that the worst effects of this storm, rainfall of 10 to 20 inches, remain for now east of Houston. However, until the center forms, we really cannot have particularly high confidence in such a prediction. Bottom line: If I lived in the greater Houston area, I’d be paying attention to forecasts, but I wouldn’t be freaking out at this time.

If the most likely scenario does play out, it will lead to significant problems for southern Louisiana, as parts of the New Orleans metro area have already received 10 inches or more of rainfall.

For now, the heaviest rainfall appears likely to fall over Louisiana. (Pivotal Weather)

In terms of forecast confidence, we are now within about 3 to 4 days of landfall. Moreover, a hurricane hunter aircraft is investigating the tropical system at this hour, providing better in situ data in terms of winds, pressures, and a possible center. All of this will lead to much better confidence in a forecast between now and Thursday morning.

Where’s Eric?

You may have noticed that so far Matt has written all of the content related to the Gulf tropical system. This is because I snuck off to Europe for a 10-day vacation, sans laptop, to celebrate my wife’s 40th birthday (30th, I mean she’s turning 30!). I never travel during August and September due to the tropics, but now it seems that even July is not safe! Anyway, given the potential for this system to cause mischief I’ve acquired a laptop. (It has a French keyboard layout, AZERTY instead of QWERTY, which is rather maddening after 25 years of using the latter layout). From now on I’ll be helping out with this event—whatever it becomes.

57 thoughts on “Barry likely to form soon, already bringing heavy rains to Louisiana

  1. TomJ

    Hope you guys had a blast!

    Please include your thoughts on airport impact on Fri/Sat due to this storm in your future posts.

  2. Sympathetic Wife of Husband Who Also Has Important and Disruptive Job

    Poor Mrs. Berger! Please either extend this milestone trip or take her back next year!

  3. Patrice E Taylor

    Thank you for working on your vacation/celebrating your wife – the Houston–area appreciates you and Matt!

  4. Joyce Couvillion

    Thanks for interrupting your vacation, Eric. And thanks to Matt for all his work. Last but not least, a very happy 40th birthday to your wife. 😄

  5. Bridgitt Dickey

    Bless you, Eric, for doing this on your vacation!! And blessing to your wife for having her vacation interrupted.

  6. Josh

    Eric, please put down your AZERTY låptopeé and enjoy your wife’s 40th birthday trip. All the overly anxious people back in Houston will be fine and you will miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. There will be plenty more lousy weather days when you get back. Just enjoy it.

  7. Bill C

    Not sure but what there might be a local, very intense storm around our homestead if I published my wife’s age on any social media page. Glad Mrs. Berger is so understanding of what you do, and do so well. Thank you.

  8. Hank

    Must be nice! (note to self start a weather blog … in some other city of course!)

  9. Brandy Blackshear

    Enjoy your holiday as much as you can. We’d hate for your wife’s big birthday blowout to get blownout by weather on another continent.

    1. Eric Berger

      Thanks Brandy. She’s pretty understanding, and realizes this is important stuff!

  10. Arianda

    First, thank you so much for helping while on vacation! Second, you must have an amazing wife who understands your “need” to be there for us!

  11. Jeff

    Euro keyboards are not fun at all. The buttons are all in different places, there are different characters, accents and punctuation symbols. Hopefully Europe has cooled off for your visit. I would hate to get to Europe thinking I am escaping Texas summer only for it to be 114F.

    1. Eric Berger

      Except for today, we’ve not seen highs above 80. It’s been lovely.

  12. Bill W.

    Another weather forecasting source, TWC, has just broadcast that the rainfall amounts for the Houston area on Saturday could be from 0 to more than 14 inches. That is soooo helpful! In fact, that has been the case for every day I have been alive and for every place on earth! But they promise “Weather you can trust”. Whoopee-darn-doo! Thank God for Space City Weather!

  13. Bill Martin

    What is it with East Texas and that TX / LA border? Seems to always be the bullseye for storms in the gulf..

  14. Helpful Keyboard Tip

    I’d recommend using a find and replace for the AZERTY QWERTY issue!

  15. Mary

    We quit leaving to go to Europe in September after we went to Ireland a week after Harvey. The remnants followed us there! Hope you are having a great time & don’t worry about Texas weather on your vacation.

  16. Lori B.

    You are great, but Matt’s got this! Go celebrate your lovely 30 year old hottie and leave AZERTY behind!

  17. Jeff

    Do you plan on giving a number for the flood scale thingie if/when impacts arrive in Houston? I realize that on the dry side we might get exactly 0in of rain… So that would definitely be a severity if 0. 🙂

    1. Eric Berger

      Yes, but right now the potential is anywhere from a 1 (more likely) to a 3 so it doesn’t make sense to make a low-confidence forecast.

      1. Arianda

        That statement alone is helpful. Thank you for responding (despite the low confidence forecast)!

  18. Kat Avocado

    Thanks for all this info! I have a flight Sunday with a layover in Houston so I’m watching this carefully.

  19. Ken Selke

    Matt has been doing a great job. You should enjoy yourself. This weather will pass. The 10th Anniversary of your wife’s 30th birthday only comes once. In a week and a half I’m going the the 50th Anniversary of my step-mother’s 39th birthday. You cannot allow tropical disturbances to interfere with important events.

  20. Vickie

    Thank you Eric and Matt for all you do.

    Please wish the Mrs. a Happy Birthday. Hope you’ll enjoy your trip.

  21. David C

    No, your wife is 29. Never 30. And you probably shouldn’t even say 40 if she asks what 20 + 20 equals.

  22. Heather

    Thank you for all y’all do, even on vacation, for the storm PTSD folks in Houston!

  23. Allison Kirby

    Is scenario A from Tuesday morning post completely off the table? What is best case for Galveston this weekend? I realize so much depends on storm track, but is it going to be rainy even In best case? Thank you for any guidance you can offer for our beach getaway!

  24. Keith

    I noticed a big uptick in the NWS rain potential forecast for Saturday…went from .17″ to 3.7″ throughout the day. Are they seeing something we aren’t or could they just be hedging their bets?

  25. Maggie

    Thanks to you both for helping us remain a little calmer. And a happy birthday to your wife.

  26. TimP

    Please allow me to humbly join the chorus of folks who hope you return as soon as possible to your vacation. I know it’s your passion but working on holiday can lead to burnout so please be careful and know that we’re in Matt’s good hands.

    That said, today was as good a day as any other to send in my flood insurance renewal premium…

  27. David

    We are 3 days into a 5 day cruise to Cozumel and Progreso. What are the odds we will be getting home when scheduled Saturday?

  28. Blackhawks Fan

    Pretty much what our subscription service at work has been predicting since oh-dark-thirty this morning : Cat 1 (80MPH) into central Louisiana Saturday morning. But they are putting Houston outside the “cone of death” unlike NOAA.

  29. CG-37

    Long time fan, but you really sold me during your dedication during Harvey (as we were stuck out of town and I was an absolute panic merchant). I appreciated your non-sensational facts. Now, you’ve tried to have a vacation and Mother Nature has struck again. I hope you can expense back your new French hardware 🙂 Thank you and HBD to your wife.

  30. Betty

    Thank you for being detailed about the storm. I am concerned about our very early morning flight from IAH. I will be watching for future posts that might predict a possible delay of departure.

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