Weather

Tropical Storm Barry’s track shifts back west away from Coast. Heavy rains still possible.

Tropical Storm Barry forms, bringing threat of storm surge

Tropical storm Barry formed in the Gulf of Mexico on July 11, 2019. Tropical storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Mississippi Coast east of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.
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Tropical storm Barry formed in the Gulf of Mexico on July 11, 2019. Tropical storm and storm surge watches were issued for the Mississippi Coast east of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

Tropical Storm Barry officially formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, and the National Hurricane Center’s forecast track made a noticeable move to the east for most of the day before reverting back after the 4 p.m. update.

For South Mississippi that means, “We need to be more vigilant,” said Rupert Lacy, emergency management director for Harrison County.

Barry is expected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane by late Friday or early Saturday, and hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for most of the Louisiana coast.

Tropical storm and storm surge watches have been issued for the entire Mississippi Coast and Lacy said the area is already feeling some higher guests of winds from the outflow of the storm.

“We could see some tropical-force winds, probably starting tomorrow,” he said.

Harrison County Sand Beach Authority is contacting the casinos and other property owners on the south side of U.S. 90. The casinos are readying their parking lots and other low-lying areas, he said, but with the current rain predictions, Lacy said he doesn’t think much of U.S. 90 will be flooded, if at all.

Friday and Saturday are expected to bring heavy rain to South Mississippi, but Lacy said, “This may linger into Sunday also.”

Evacuations aren’t currently planned but he said, “We will probably tell people in low-lying areas, they may want to go to higher ground.”

The storm is slowly gaining a more well-defined center, and became organized enough Thursday that forecasters had more confidence in landfall occurring in the middle of the south Louisiana coastline. But the models are still not in agreement on whether the storm will move north through southeastern Louisiana or drift more toward the Texas line.

Either way, the slow-moving system is expected to dump heavy rains along the northern Gulf Coast and Louisiana.

As of Thursday evening, the Mississippi Coast was predicted to see 4-8 inches of rain, less than the 10-20 inches expected for southeastern Louisiana and southwest Mississippi.

A flash flood watch for Harrison, Hancock, Pearl, Stone, George and Jackson counties remains in effect until Sunday morning.

Winds of 15-25 mph are expected with gusts up to 40 mph, and 2-4 feet of storm surge is still possible along the Mississippi Coast.

“Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances,” the weather service said.

A few “weak/brief” tornadoes are possible along with coastal flooding between 1 to 3 feet above normal.

SAND BAG LOCATIONS

Harrison County

  • Harrison County Road Department at 11076 Lorraine Road
  • D’Iberville Work Center at 190085 1st Ave. W
  • Lyman Work Center at 15001 County Farm Road
  • Woolmarket Work Center at 16395 Old Woolmarket Road
  • District 4 Work Center at 8300 34th Ave. in Gulfport
  • Long Beach Work Center at 605 N. Seal Ave.
  • Ken Combs Pier parking lot at Courthouse Road and U.S. 90
  • D’Iberville at the north end of the I-110 bridge, south of Rodriguez St.

  • Orange Grove Community Center on Dedeaux Road, the Fire Station on 42nd Avenue

  • Intersection of Hewes Avenue and Glover Street

  • Long Beach Harbor at 720 S. Cleveland Ave.

  • Pass Christian Harbor at 115 Market St.

Hancock County

  • Hancock County Arena – 4184 Kiln Delisle Road, Kiln
  • Hancock County Old Complex – 3068 Longfellow Drive, Bay St. Louis
  • Lakeshore Community Center – 6440 Lower Bay Road, Lakeshore
  • West Hancock Fire Department – 16006 Washington Street, Pearlington
  • Bayside Fire Department – 6215 West Hinds Street
  • Diamondhead City Hall – 5000 Diamondhead Circle Please

Jackson County

  • West Division Roads Department, N. Washington Avenue (Hwy. 609), Ocean Springs
  • Forts Lake Fire Department, 10701 Forts Lake Road, Moss Point
  • Escatawpa VFD, 3801 Sentinel Dr, Moss Point
  • Fontainebleau Fire Department, 3901 Hwy. 57 South, Ocean Springs
  • East Division Roads Department, 10825 Hwy. 63, Moss Point
  • St. Andrews Fire Department, 1401 Elm Street, Ocean Springs

  • Ocean Springs - Public Works Department, 712 A Pine Drive

  • Gautier - Behind City Hall, Highway 90

  • Pascagoula - Jackson County Fairgrounds, 2902 Shortcut Rd

  • Moss Point - New Central Fire Station, 4204 Bellview Street

A waterspout spun over Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the morning of July 10, amid tornado warnings and a flash flood emergency in Jefferson Parish.

A storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico presents troubles for parts of Louisiana: the Mississippi River could be lapping at the tops of levees this weekend, and there's a danger of flash floods. Mississippi is also at risk of torrential rains.

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Britneé Davis is McClatchy’s South Region Digital Producer. The south region includes the Sun Herald, the Telegraph, and the Ledger-Enquirer.
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