Over the weekend, the storm that became Hurricane Barry, was forecasted to land along the central Gulf Coast and dump 15-20 inches of rain in southeast Louisiana. Thankfully, most places dodged the worst case scenario, but let’s look at how it began and how it’s ending.
Early June, the National Hurricane Center noticed an area of showers and storms in Tennessee that they forecasted to track from Tennessee down to the Gulf of Mexico and form a tropical system. The picture below shows the southward track of Barry that started in Tennessee and went through the Florida panhandle into the Gulf of Mexico. As of Monday afternoon, Barry is now a Tropical Depression moving northward over Arkansas.
Early predictions from weather models showed the center of the storm traveling anywhere between east Texas and Mississippi. Below is a comparison five days out that showed that the European’s prediction (circulation in black lines) was not too far off from the actual center of the track that passed north of Shreveport around 4pm on Sunday.
While the initiation and track of Hurricane Barry was fairly accurate, the forecasted rainfall totals is what lacked with our guidance from models. Areas in southeast Louisiana near New Orleans and Baton Rogue were forecasted to see 15-20 inches of rain, which would have brought devastating flooding results for New Orleans. Instead, rainfall amounts were between 4-8 inches with a few higher isolated amounts and flooding concerns. Here in the Arklatex, rainfall amounts remain less than half an inch.
Partly the reason to blame for Barry’s under-performance is the dry air and wind shear that infiltrated the system. Mother nature’s upper air patterns hindered Hurricane Barry’s growth and dried out the expected rainfall amounts. So although the forecasted impacts were not met, it’s something to celebrate and learn from.
As of Monday afternoon, Barry is still a Tropical Depression moving northward over west Arkansas. It’s forecasted path will take it through the mid-west and bring heavy rainfall east of its path. In the ArkLaTex, Tropical Depression Barry’s remnants will bring us gray skies and scattered rain.