Happy Hump Day, y’all (*somewhat sarcastic tone*)! I don’t know about you, but Barry hasn’t formed yet and I’m already over it. New Orleans was hit hard by flooding rains associated with “Potential Tropical Cyclone 2” (soon to be “Barry”). At least one weather station in Orleans Parish reported 9.4 inches of rainfall today. That led to scenes like the one below taken from inside of the Jung Hotel on Canal Street. (Credit: Tyler Bridges @tegbridges)
I know it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Storm Surge and Flooding are the most dangerous aspects of tropical storms. The wind can be destructive, yes, but water will always be the most dangerous. Praying for the people of Louisiana because, at least based on what we’re seeing in the data and models on this storm, it could be a dangerous and long weekend for Louisiana.
Here’s what we know: As of 7pm, “Potential Tropical Cyclone 2” (referred to herein as “PTC2”) was located approximately 475 miles ESE of Houston, TX and was moving WSW at 8 mph. Hurricane Hunters flew into the system today and were unable to locate a closed center of circulation which would have made the system a tropical depression. The pressure was measured at 29.80 inches. The National Hurricane Center is giving PTC2 a 100% chance of development in the next 48 hours, and the system is expected to be a tropical depression, if not a tropical storm, by tomorrow. National Hurricane Center track guidance, as you will see below, is a blend of the most recent model data. Yes, portions of Texas are still within the cone of uncertainty! It is worth noting that the center seems to be developing a bit further south and west than earlier forecasts predicted. I think the models are responding to this as I’ve noticed some very slight westward shifts in model runs today. Also worth noting is the overall consolidation of models with the exception of a few outliers (one of which that has been reliable historically) which is why the official NHC track splits the difference between the majority of models and this outlier. Images below!
“OFCI” in the above image is the Official NHC Forecast Track. Notice how it is left of most of the other models…showing the National Hurricane Center’s respect for the Euro (UKX2) model, which, again, has historically been a reliable model. This is why Texans should continue to monitor this system’s progress. Until a low level center of circulation forms and the models accurately latch onto it, we have to consider all possibilities.
Please review the Key Messages from the National Hurricane Center below:
As you can see above, the National Hurricane Center is expecting PTC2 to develop into a Hurricane as it approaches the coast line. I have read numerous discussions that indicate the possibility for the system to rapidly intensify given the conducive atmospheric environment that is forecast along with the very warm sea surface temperatures. Residents in Louisiana located within the Hurricane Watch areas should begin preparations as hurricane conditions could begin within the next 2 to 3 days. Expect to see this system named tomorrow…Tropical Storm Barry…coming soon.
Impacts to Texas depend on several factors including:
• How far west the system moves.
• The strength of the system.
• The size, or extent, of the wind fields.
Weather models are indicating increasing rainfall for SE Texas beginning tomorrow afternoon and continuing off and on through essentially Saturday. Some of the rainfall could be very heavy at times. As the situation stands, and given what we know now, rainfall amounts of 1-3” can be expected in places.
If Texas ends up on the west side of the system (which still seems probable based on current models and trends today), we’ll be on the “cleaner” and drier side of it. That will help limit rainfall amounts, but we still can expect windy/gusty conditions with winds out of the north as it moves inland, especially if the track shifts closer to the TX/LA border. Wind strength will be determined by landfall location and bullet points above.
If somehow this system makes a move towards SE Texas…impacts will be much worse. Again, let’s cover that, if we need to, tomorrow. For now, we’ll continue to monitor the trends and development.