MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - All eyes are on Tropical Storm Barry, which formed over the northern Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning. As this storm spins towards the coast of Louisiana, it will bring widespread, heavy rain to parts of the Deep South, and some of that rain will fall on Alabama. Let’s dive into the track, intensity, and impact forecast.
Track: Barry is slowly churning in the Gulf and being steered by a ridge to its north. Over the next day or two, the ridge will weaken, and Barry will make a northwest and northward turn toward the Louisiana coast. From there it will move inland, likely heading north, then northeast.
Intensity: Tropical Storm Barry is currently being affected by dry air and wind shear, both of which are limiting factors to the strength and development of tropical systems. Despite these unfavorable conditions, models are still showing Barry strengthening, and it will likely make landfall as a weak Category 1 hurricane or strong tropical storm. Whether it develops into a hurricane or not, the storm will impact much of the south.
Local Impacts: Rain will be the main concern over the next few days. It won’t rain all day, and widespread flooding is not expected, but off-and on heavy rain is likely into early next week. An indoor back-up plan is a good idea if you’re planning any outdoor events over the next few days. It will also be breezy at times, but damaging wind gusts are not forecast. Brief spin-up tornadoes could be embedded in the outer bands of this storm, so depending on the track, a very low risk of tornadoes could exist in the western part of the state.
Beach Impacts: Heading to coastal Alabama or the Florida Panhandle? You don’t need to cancel your beach trip, but know that the weather won’t be favorable the entire time you’re there. Much like central and south Alabama, heavy rain is likely off-and-on throughout the day. The water from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach is closed to swimmers, as extremely dangerous rip currents are prevalent. Winds will be gusty, although wind damage isn’t expected. There is a small risk for tornadoes, too.
It’s important to note there there is still much uncertainty when it comes to Barry. Models are still disagreeing on track and intensity, and the forecast is subject to change over the next few days. Check back in for updates.