7:03PM July 10, 2019

PTC3/BARRY LIKELY TO BE A HURRICANE BY SATURDAY… The system that is about to become Tropical Storm Barry continues to gain organization in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Barry will become a category 1 hurricane before the likely landfall in Louisiana or east Texas this weekend. While heavy rain and flash flooding will be our main concerns in south Alabama and northwest Florida, we also note the possibility of a few coastal tornadoes in the immediate beach zones locally over the next few days. Flash flood watches have been issued locally. A Hurricane Watch is now in effect for parts of Louisiana. Plenty to discuss this evening. Let’s talk…

NOMENCLATURE MATTERS LESS, IMPACTS MATTER MORE… Let me be direct and say the nomenclature/naming scheme that the U.S. government chooses to use has become horrendous. What we care about is impacts, which is what this discussion will focus on. Whether we call it “Potential Tropical Cyclone #2” or “Tropical Storm Barry,” this system is basically a developing tropical depression right now. The system will almost certainly become Tropical Storm Barry in the next 24-48 hours. PTC3/Barry/whatever you want to call it is about to drop a LOT of rain across the Southern U.S. with other impacts expected (detailed extensively below).

FORECAST FOR PTC3/BARRY… Strengthening is expected over the next 24-48 hours. PTC3/Barry will likely ramp up to a 50-60mph tropical storm in the next day or two. The system is expected to become a category 1 or category 2 hurricane as it makes landfall in Louisiana or east Texas this weekend. At the moment, landfall is most likely to happen Saturday P.M. or Sunday A.M. We caution that the timeframe may change somewhat as the system continues to organize over the next day or two. PTC3/Barry will continue to fling in warm, Gulf moisture even after the center of circulation passes by our area to the south. We will be on the eastern side of the circulation, meaning the flow will be out of the south. That’s why rain chances will remain HIGH locally through the weekend with a low-end chance of isolated tornadoes at the coast.

LOCAL IMPACTS FOR SOUTH ALABAMA & NW FLORIDA… We now have high confidence about all impacts discussed below. This probably will not change much over the next few days. It cannot be stressed enough that heavy rain and flash flooding will be a significant concern, especially closer to the immediate coastline. NEVER attempt to drive on a water-covered roadway. We lose too many people across America each year to this totally preventable cause of death! “Turn around, don’t drown” is the phrase. Isolated tornadoes at the the immediate beach zones will also be a concern.

FLASH FLOODING & HEAVY RAIN… We’ve adjusted projected rainfall amounts even higher based on the latest data from the Weather Prediction Center. Most spots across our region will pick up 3 to 4 inches of rain in total over the next 5 to 7 days. There will be some spots that get 5 to 8 inches of rain, especially near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. Rain chances will be greatest each day in the afternoon and evening hours.

FLASH FLOOD WATCH… The entirety of Mobile, Washington, Baldwin, Escambia (FL), and Santa Rosa counties are under a Flash Flood Watch. 5 to 7 inches of rain will be possible in these areas. This includes Chatom, Millry, Citronelle, Saraland, Stockton, Mobile, Prichard, Theodore, Bay Minette, Daphne, Fairhope, Foley, Spanish Fort, Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Grand Bay, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Century, Molino, Walnut Hill, Beulah, Ensley, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Beach, Jay, Milton, Bagdad, Gulf Breeze, and Navarre.

ISOLATED TORNADOES POSSIBLE AT THE COAST… Let me emphasize that for ALL areas in south Alabama and northwest Florida, the overall tornado risk remains VERY low. For most spots across inland counties, the tornado risk remains at or near zero. We’re concerned about areas near the Alabama and northwest Florida beaches due to a low-end tornado risk. Isolated supercell thunderstorms may rotate around the center of PTC2/Barry over the next 48 hours. These cells could produce tornadoes over water (aka tornadic waterspouts) that approach the shoreline. It’s in these immediate beach zones that could see a brief, spin-up tornado. This includes areas like Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, Coden, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens, Oriole Beach, Navarre, Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Miramar Beach. Have a way to get tornado warnings, especially if you’re near the coast!

NO MAJOR WIND ISSUES EXPECTED LOCALLY… We’ll have breezy (10-25mph) wind gusts at the immediate coast, but I’m not expecting any wind issues for inland areas due to this passing tropical storm. There could be higher wind gusts in Mississippi and certainly in Louisiana, but wind issues in south Alabama and northwest Florida should be little to none.

RIP CURRENTS KILL… Most people don’t realize that the number ONE natural hazard killer in our region is dangerous rip currents! We’ve lost more people to rip currents since 1996 compared to all other natural hazard deaths combined. Most of the victims are people who are from out of our local area that probably didn’t realize the danger. It should be common sense, but just in case it’s not: Don’t get in the water when there is a tropical storm or hurricane around. It’s just not a good idea.

COASTAL FLOODING POSSIBLE… Low-lying areas at the immediate beach zones that are accustomed to flooding during passing tropical systems may have some coastal flooding issues as we go into the weekend. Widespread coastal flooding issues are not expected, however.

BLUE ANGELS UPDATE… It is Blue Angels weekend at Pensacola Beach. The Blues are doing their practice shows Thursday and Friday ahead of the big show at 2PM on Saturday. Unfortunately, rain chances will remain HIGH on Saturday. It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly where showers and thunderstorms will be happening at 2PM Saturday, but I can tell you with high confidence that there will be rain around. We’ll call it an 80 to 90 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday afternoon and evening. Depending on the exact future track of PTC2/Barry, we may have to adjust rain chances higher or lower in the next day or two.

#1 QUESTION I GET: DO I CANCEL MY PLANS?… Unfortunately, this is another question I simply cannot answer. Baseball tournaments, ballet performances, football/soccer games are all scheduled for this weekend. We all have different thresholds and tolerances for what we’re willing to put up with in terms of heavy rain or bad weather. I’m the type of person that will drive through just about anything. Heavy rain just does not bother me. I have people in my family, however, that will not drive through heavy rain. The fact is we have a high chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the core of PTC2/Barry passes to our south and west. If I had an event in Louisiana, I would most likely cancel (depending on the event type). If I had an event locally or to the east, I probably wouldn’t cancel (depending on the event type, again). You might, I’m not sure. It’s just all about what you’re willing to deal with. Lots of rain upcoming!

HURRICANE WATCH IN LOUISIANA… There is a Hurricane Watch in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River (south of Buras, Louisiana) westward to Cameron, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River northward to the Mouth of the Pearl River, which is the MS/LA state line. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

PLENTY MORE INFO IN REDZONE WEATHER APP… If you’re following RedZone Weather on Facebook, thank you! If you’re following me on Facebook ALONE, however, you’re missing out. Be sure to download the RedZone Weather app (redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download). There is plenty more content in the app compared to what I post on Facebook each day. See below about how to set up app alerts.

APP ALERTS… We provide a variety of different options to fit your weather information needs. You should control how many alerts you want. We help with that by providing High-Level Alerts, Medium-Level Alerts, and Low-Level Alerts. Everyone gets the High-Level Alerts. We send one or two of those PER YEAR, so not very often at all. We reserve those alerts for high impact weather events. Medium-Level Alerts are recommended for most people. They’re the important alerts, but not necessarily super urgent. Low-Level Alerts are designed for people who want many, many alerts throughout the day. You’ll also want to turn ON alerts for the counties you care about. To do all of this, download the RedZone Weather app and visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner), then tap the large, yellow Alert Settings button to turn on the specific alerts you want.

My next forecast video will be posted by 7:15AM on Facebook. Plenty more updates will be available in the RedZone Weather app between now and then. Let me know if you have any questions. Have a great evening!

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