Tropical Storm Barry is picking up speed, strengthening and is now located about 70 miles south of Morgan City. On its current path, slightly to the west of earlier predictions, the center of the storm would move directly over Lafayette.
[Update, 10 a.m. Saturday: Barry has been upgraded to a hurricane.]
As of 4 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour. The slow-moving storm continues to move west-northwest at about 6 miles per hour.
The storm is expected to continue strengthening and be a hurricane when it makes landfall Saturday morning, somewhere between Morgan City and Vermilion Bay. Tropical force winds are extending out up to 175 miles from the center of the storm.
Because Barry is so widespread, weather forecasters said the storm is expected to have a significant impact across south central Louisiana.
Barry is expected to push through Acadiana in two waves, according to the KATC weather team.
First, it will bring sustained winds between 50-75 mph with gusts as high as 80-90mph, which is strong enough to knock down trees, power lines and blowing off tin roofs and shingles.
Following the winds, heavy rains are expected to hammer Acadiana. The latest models predict will get about 10-20 inches of rain, with a few isolated spots getting as much as 25 inches of rain.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle, with tropical storm and storm surge warnings extending across much of the Louisiana coast and in lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.
The National Weather Service warns that hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane warning area starting Friday night. Tropical storm conditions are spreading across the area.
The next update on Barry’s strength and progress will be issued at 7 p.m. Friday.