UPDATE: Barry intensified to a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph before making landfall mid-day near Intercoastal City, LA. The storm has now weakened to a tropical storm. The heavy rain and flooding threats are just beginning.
Barry continues to crawl closer to the Louisiana Gulf coast. The outer rainbands have been moving onshore throughout the morning. Landfall is expected before this afternoon either as a strong tropical storm or low-end Category 1 hurricane. Louisiana and Mississippi are bracing for very heavy rainfall, a three to six foot storm surge, and disastrous inland flooding. Tornadoes will be possible on the eastern side of the eye.
Hurricane warnings have been posted from Lafayette to Grand Isle, LA. Tropical storm warnings stretch from Lake Charles to Alexandria to New Orleans. The wind won't be a significant trouble maker. It will be the water - that falling from the sky and the flooding that follows - that will be the greater threat.
Barry remains loop-sided, asymmetrical even as it continues to intensify. The southern, Gulf side of the storm has all of the heavy rain. There were even sunny breaks in New Orleans on Friday as the outermost bands worked inland. As the eye of Barry moves inland, more rain will follow. Ten to fifteen inches of rain are possible through central Louisiana into Mississippi. Some areas could see up to 25 inches by Monday. All of this rain will add to the already swollen rivers across Louisiana, including the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi.
This will be a slow-moving system, bringing rounds of heavy rain through the entire weekend. Barry will weaken as it turns northward through Louisiana. The latest National Hurricane Center forecast has the remnants of Barry nearing the Arkansas-Missouri border late Monday night. The entire Lower Mississippi Valley will deal with heavy rain and flooding concerns. Rain from what is left of Barry will reach the Commonwealth by late Tuesday and continue on Wednesday.