Tropical Storm Barry is picking up speed, strengthening and is now located about 70 miles south of Morgan City. On its current path, the Baton Rouge area would be on the wetter side of the storm, where there would be a higher risk of both flash flooding and river flooding.
[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. The storm is tracking west of Baton Rouge, meaning the area faces a higher threat of widespread rainfall and flooding. The worst impacts of a tropical storm are generally found east of the disturbance.
Forecasters said Saturday will be a wet, windy day in Baton Rouge, with isolated tornadoes and high winds. Barry is expected to dump 10 to 20 inches of rain on South Louisiana, with some isolated areas getting as much as 25 inches of rain. The area west of Interstate 55 is considered to be at a higher risk of heavy rainfall.
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.