The latest update from the National Hurricane Center holds Barry at 65 mph. Tropical systems tend to strengthen at night, and that’s just what Barry is expected to do. I expect him to reach hurricane status sometime within the next 12 hours (74 mph).
Barry is taking his sweet time, as so many tropical systems do. This is allowing the winds to push even more water onshore. Just before it got dark, tons of video were coming in of flooded coastal roads. It’s too late for those residents to evacuate if they hadn’t already done so. Power outages are already occurring, as well.
The Mississippi River is expected to crest late tonight at 18-19 feet. That is more than 10 feet above flood stage and that’s without the full effects of Barry’s rainfall, which could top two feet in some locations. The National Guard has been deployed to New Orleans with buses to evacuate if it become necessary during the storm. During the storm? I shake my head. I’m not sure that’s even possible. Let’s just hope the 18-20 foot flood walls hold around New Orleans. Otherwise, we’ll see similar images to what we saw 14 years ago with Katrina. There are reports that the walls weren’t built to code after Katrina to save money. There are also reports that maintenance on those walls has been sub-par.
If you’d like to receive text updates on what’s going on in the city you can text the word Barry to 888-777. I signed up.
Northerly shear has pushed most of the storm to the south side of the main circulation. This doesn’t mean the winds aren’t 65 mph at the center, it just means the main rainfall may not be in that same area.
Barry has been an odd storm thus far. Some of you have seen the unusual satellite imagery I shared earlier today, of swirls in the clouds on the north side of the circulation. Odd, indeed.
Unfortunately, too much emphasis is being placed on the wind. It’s not the wind, it’s the water that kills and destroys so much. There’s a lot to worry about tonight and I wouldn’t trade places with Louisianians in the path of Barry, who opted to stay and ride out the floods. I hope they don’t regret that decision.
Say an extra prayer tonight for Louisiana and New Orleans. They’re going to need it.