13 July 2019

Barry becomes season's first hurricane as it makes landfall in central Louisiana

On Saturday morning, Barry was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane (with peak sustained winds of 75mph) just before it made landfall south of Lafayette. Dangerous storm surge of 6-8 feet is occurring east of the center (Morgan City area), and heavy rain is just making its way onshore... fortunately, the storm remained lopsided and the majority of the rain is still south of the center. But it is not over; now that it's onshore, the rain will be too!

Again, the classification of the storm (tropical storm, Category 1 hurricane, etc) *only* pertains to the peak sustained wind speed found somewhere in the storm -- it does not tell you anything about the size of the wind field, the amount of rain it will produce, or the depth and extent of the storm surge.  You can find a few long, updating radar loops covering Hurricane Barry's landfall at http://bmcnoldy.rsmas.miami.edu/tropics/radar/

As you can see, rainfall remains a major concern today and in the coming couple of days as Barry moves inland. The graphic below shows the flask flood risk from Saturday through Tuesday morning:

This event fits within what we expect from climatology: the Gulf of Mexico is a favored region for tropical cyclone formation during July.

Barry is the 8th hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in the past two decades... the other recent hits include Lili (2002, Cat1), Cindy (2005, Cat1), Katrina (2005, Cat3), Rita (2005, Cat3), Gustav (2008, Cat2), Isaac (2012, Cat1), and Nate (2017, Cat1).

Tracks of the seven hurricanes to make landfall in Louisiana from 1999-2018.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, an easterly wave left the African coast back on July 8th and continues to maintain a minimal amount of organization. The National Hurricane Center is giving it just a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression by Thursday. It, in whatever condition, would reach the Lesser Antilles around Monday-Tuesday. At this point, it's very likely to be nothing more than a tropical breeze.


  1. What are the "blooms" of blue (dark blue surrounded by light blue surrounded by or replaced by beige) that pop up en masse on the NWS Radar Mosaic, and do not much change location, just cycle through blooming and fading.

    Are they actually showing pop-up storms, or are they artifacts? In some places bands from Barry move through a bloom, but the bloom stays in its location, making me think they are artifacts. But there are so many of them, over at least six states.


  2. An excellent question! And the answer is BUGS! If you watch the times, they erupt every evening and go away by morning, and you see it primarily in the southeast states during summer, when lots and lots of bugs are out.

  3. Bugs on near the surface of the earth, or bugs interfering up high in the sky, with the satellites? If on the ground, how would there be miles of bugs that bloom and dissipate repeatedly like that? The blooms are obviously synchronous, so it doesn't seem like they're actually over those states.

    In case I'm not clear, I'm talking about the satellite gif on this blog post, today, not in general.

  4. I think you're talking about the radar loop, not the satellite loop. In the radar loop, you see the periodic "blooming" of these features. The features are centered on individual radar sites, and they come and go like that every night and day all summer. The radars are quite sensitive, and since these features show up close to the radars, they are also fairly close to the ground (the further away from a radar you go, the higher up in the atmosphere you're seeing).