Tropical Storm Barry is strengthening Friday as it makes its way toward the Gulf Coast — and it could even intensify to a hurricane just before it makes landfall along the Louisiana coast, forecasters predict.
The storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour — is relatively slow moving, heading west-northwest across the northern Gulf of Mexico at 5 mph, according to Accuweather.
It is expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coast Friday night or Saturday morning as a potent tropical storm, but forecasters arent ruling out the possibility of it intensifying into a hurricane just before making landfall.
“The key to whether Barry becomes a hurricane before landfall or not will depend on the amount of time it is able to spend over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico,” Dan Kottlowski, a hurricane expert with Accuweather, said.
If the storm system turns northward quickly and makes landfall Friday night, then there may not be enough time for it to strengthen into a hurricane, according to Accuweather. But if it tracks to the northwest for a longer period, its possible that it may not reach land until later Saturday — and could strengthen during that time.
By late afternoon Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center had already issued a hurricane warning for the coast of Louisiana from Intracoastal City to Grand Isle.
Accuweather has already designated Barry a level 2 storm, on its RealImpact Scale for Hurricanes — which ranges from “less than 1” to 5 — with 5 having the most projected impact.
The biggest worry at the moment, experts say, is the flooding.
“Our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding,” Kottlowski said. “Heavy, flooding rainfa