July 11, 2019 – Update #3 – International Space Station Eyes Tropical Storm Barry
U.S. Astronaut Christina Koch, currently stationed on the International Space Station, captured this image of Tropical Storm Barry as it bears down on Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida and it makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico.
July 11, 2019 – Update #2 – NASA’s Aqua Satellite Sees Formation of Tropical Storm Barry
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) confirmed that Tropical Storm Barry formed in the Gulf of Mexico today, July 11 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC). NASA’s Aqua satellite provided a view of the storm’s clouds and temperatures as Barry continued consolidating.
On July 11, 2019 at 3:29 p.m. EDT (0729 UTC) the AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed cloud top temperatures in infrared light in what was at the time, Potential Tropical Cyclone 2. AIRS found coldest cloud top temperatures (purple) of strongest thunderstorms were as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Cloud tops that cold can produce heavy rainfall and the NHC said dangerous storm surge, heavy rains, and wind conditions are expected across the north-central Gulf Coast from Barry.
The image also showed the storm had become better defined and bands of thunderstorms were wrapping around the low-level center.
July 11, 2019 – Update #1 – NASA Takes Potential Tropical Cyclone 2’s Temperature
NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the Gulf of Mexico and took the temperature of Potential Tropical Cyclone 2 as it moved westward through the Gulf of Mexico. NASA found the very cold cloud tops indicating the storm had potential for dropping heavy rain.
Infrared light enables NASA to take the temperatures of clouds and thunderstorms that make up tropical cyclones. The stronger the storms are indicate that they extend high into the troposphere and have cold cloud top temperatures.
An infrared look by NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 10, 2019 at 3:23 p.m. EDT (1923 UTC) revealed where the strongest storms were located within Potential Tropical Cyclone 2. The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite analyzed cloud top temperatures and found cloud top temperatures of strongest thunderstorms as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius) circling the center (which is still not well-defined) and in thunderstorms northwest of the center, extending over southern Louisiana. Cloud top temperatures that cold indicate strong storms that have the capability to create heavy rain.
On July 10, the National Weather Service Office in New Orleans reported the official rainfall in New Orleans at more than 7 inches, which fell over six hours on the morning of July 10.
On July 11 at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC) NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) continued to post warnings and watches for the Gulf coast states. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to Intracoastal City, Louisiana. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River northward to the mouth of the Pearl River.
At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the NHC said the disturbance was centered near latitude
27.6 degrees north and longitude 88.5 degrees west. That puts the center of circulation about 115 miles (185 km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Reports from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm later today, and could become a hurricane by late Friday.
NHC noted that the associated thunderstorm activity is gradually becoming better organized, and the disturbance is expected to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm later today or Friday. The chance that the system will become a tropical storm through 48 hours is high at 100 percent.
The system is moving toward the west near 5 mph (7 kph), but the NHC forecasters said a west-northwest motion is expected on Friday, July 12, followed by a northwestward track by early Saturday. On the forecast track, the system is expected to approach the Louisiana coast this weekend.
July 10, 2019 – Satellites Analyzing Developing Gulf Potential Tropical Cyclone Two
A massive complex of thunderstorms over the southeastern United States slid into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and now has the potential to develop into a tropical cyclone. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center or NHC in Miami, Florida issued the first advisory of Potential Tropical Cyclone Two and NOAA’s GOES-East satellite and NASA’s GPM satellite provided views of the storm.
On July 10 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 UTC), NOAA’s GOES-East satellite provided a visible image of the developing storm. The NHC said, “High-resolution satellite imagery along with surface and upper-air data indicate that the broad low pressure system located over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico has become a little better defined.”
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over the developing area of low pressure early on July 10 and found rain was falling at a rate of more than 50 mm (about 2 inches) per hour. Forecasters at the NHC said that the system has the potential to produce very heavy rainfall along and inland of the central Gulf Coast through early next week. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA.
NHC noted, “A tropical cyclone is expected to form by Thursday [July 11] over the north-central Gulf of Mexico. At 2 p.m. EDT on July 10, NHC reported that heavy rains and flooding were already occurring over portions of southeastern Louisiana.
Because this developing area of low pressure has the potential to bring tropical storm conditions and storm surge to portions of the coast of Louisiana by late Thursday or Friday, the NHC initiated Potential Tropical Cyclone advisories. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City, Louisiana and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Morgan City.
At 2 p.m. EDT (1800 UTC), the disturbance was centered near latitude 28.3 degrees north and longitude 86.7 degrees west. That’s about 155 miles (250 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. The system is moving toward the west-southwest near 8 mph (13 kph). On the forecast track, the system is expected to approach the central U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.
Maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph (45 kph) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next 72 hours, and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression Thursday morning, a tropical storm Thursday night, and a hurricane on Friday, July 12. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1011 millibars. The chance the system will develop into a tropical depression in the next 48 hours is near 100 percent.
Residents along the Gulf need to heed the warnings issued by the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service local offices. Already, Flash Flood Watches and Warnings were in effect today in southern Louisiana including New Orleans.
Dangerous storm surge is possible in portions of southeast Louisiana and the risk for dangerous storm surge impacts also exists farther west along the Louisiana coast into the Upper Texas coast. The National Weather Service Office in New Orleans issued a local statement today that also urged residents to prepare for dangerous rainfall flooding having possible significant impacts across extreme southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi.