Barry was downgraded to a tropical depression late Sunday afternoon as the soggy storm continued its slow northward slog through Louisiana. The amount of rain from Barry has generally been less than feared, but the depression still presents a threat of flooding as it crawls into Arkansas on Monday.
Flash flood watches cover Louisiana (except for the northwestern portion of the state), Mississippi, much of eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee. Up to seven to 10 inches of rain have fallen in parts of southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, though the forecasts for up to 25 inches have not materialized.
“Life-threatening flash flooding is expected along Barry’s path inland from Louisiana through portions of Arkansas, Mississippi, southeast Missouri, and western Tennessee through at least Monday,” the National Weather Service said.
Between Sunday night and early next week, additional rainfall totals of at least one to four inches are predicted from Louisiana and Mississippi through western Tennessee, with locally higher amounts of six to 10 inches.
Some of the heaviest rainfall is predicted for southern Louisiana through Sunday night and then in eastern Arkansas, northwest Mississippi and western Tennessee through Tuesday.
While Baton Rouge and Louisiana could receive one to two inches of rain (possibly more if heavy thunderstorms track through) on top of the about two inches that have already fallen, these amounts are on the low side of forecasts, and flooding has generally not been a problem.
Because of the scaled-back rainfall forecasts, many rivers are no longer expected to reach flood stage in Louisiana.
The latest (last updated at 5 p.m., all times Eastern)
The depression is centered 20 miles north-northeast of Shreveport, La., and headed north at nine mph. Its maximum sustained winds are down to 35 mph, and further weakening is expected.
Radar shows rain, heavy in some areas, covering much of Louisiana, Mississippi, eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee. Some of the heaviest activity is in southeast Louisiana, just east of Baton Rouge, and in south-central Mississippi, where flash flood warnings are in effect. Two to four inches of rain could fall in this zone into the evening, with rainfall rates of one to three inches per hour in the heaviest downpours.
A few tornadoes could also spin up within the storm’s rainbands, mainly east and northeast of the center. A tornado watch is in effect for parts of southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi until 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central).
Mainly because of high winds, which gusted over 60 mph Saturday and to around 50 mph Sunday, more than 100,000 customers are without power in Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.
What comes next
Because of the storm’s slow movement, rain won’t taper off in Louisiana and Mississippi until Monday afternoon or night. Rain could linger in Arkansas and western Tennessee through Tuesday, where six to 10 inches of rain could fall and trigger flooding.
By Wednesday and Thursday, the remnants of the storm will head through the Tennessee and Ohio valleys toward the Mid-Atlantic.
Barry so far
Spending just three hours as 2019′s first Atlantic hurricane, Barry made landfall near Intracoastal City, La., just before 2 p.m. Saturday, before promptly weakening to a tropical storm.
Some of the heaviest rainfall totals have focused in southern Mississippi and Alabama, where up to 10 inches have fallen, while up to seven inches have come down in southern Louisiana. Here are the heaviest totals by state:
- Fairhope, Ala.: 8.32 inches
- Abbeville, La.: 6.78 inches
- Ocean Springs, Miss.: 9.95 inches
Other notable totals include Mobile, Ala.: 5.95 inches; Lafayette, La.: 4.97 inches; Hattiesburg, Miss.: 3.42 inches; New Orleans: 2.13 inches; Baton Rouge: 2.43 inches
These amounts generally were less than predicted by computer models because of dry air drawn into Barry that their simulations did not handle well.
As Barry approached the coast, peak wind gusts topped 60 mph in coastal Louisiana, while New Orleans clocked a gust of 49 mph. In Morgan City, where gusts reached at least 55 mph, some structural damage to buildings was reported, along with downed trees and power lines.
The storm surge at the coast from south-central Louisiana to southern Mississippi pushed water three to six feet above normally dry land, with isolated reports over seven feet. The surge topped two levees in southeastern Louisiana.
The storm in historical context
Barry, the first hurricane of the 2019 season, reached such strength about a month ahead of the average Aug. 10 date of the first hurricane.
“#Barry will be the first July U.S. #hurricane landfall in 5 years (Arthur ’14) and the 8th hurricane to landfall in the continental U.S. since 2016,” Weather.com’s Jonathan Erdman tweeted.
Phil Klotzbach, a tropical weather researcher at Colorado State University, tweeted: “It’s the first hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana since Nate in 2017 and the first in July since Cindy in 2005.”