Hurricane Central

Hurricane Barry Struck the Gulf Coast and Caused Flooding From Louisiana Into Arkansas (RECAP)

By weather.com meteorologists

4 days ago

weather.com

Watch: Moment Storm Surge from Barry Hits Louisiana Town

At a Glance

  • Barry made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane in early July 2019.
  • Storm surge flooding inundated coastal parts of Louisiana.
  • Heavy rain triggered flooding in Louisiana and Arkansas.
  • Arkansas may have set a new state record for the most rainfall from a tropical cyclone.

Hurricane Barry made landfall along the Louisiana coast in early July 2019, inundating the area with storm surge before swamping parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas with flooding rainfall as it moved farther inland.

The origin of Barry was from a cluster of thunderstorms in the Plains around the Fourth of July. Those storms spawned an area of spin a few thousand feet above the ground, which eventually moved into the Gulf of Mexico to spawn Barry.

U.S. Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft found sufficiently strong winds and just enough organization of thunderstorms around low pressure for the National Hurricane Center to deem this system a tropical storm on the morning of July 11.

Barry slowly gathered organization and strength to briefly become a hurricane on Saturday, July 13, just hours before landfall, becoming the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, but it weakened by early afternoon.

White lines show the track of the disturbance that eventually formed into Barry and the track of Barry's remnants after it dissipated.

The remnants of Barry eventually tracked from northern Arkansas into the Ohio Valley with locally heavy rain.

Barry's Impacts

Storm Surge

The peak storm surge inundation occurred along the south-central Louisiana coast near Barry's landfall around Vermillion Bay and the mouth of the Atchafalaya River.

A storm surge of 6 to 7 feet above normal high tide level was recorded midday Saturday, July 13, at Amerada Pass, while a 5- to 6-foot surge moved up the Atchafalaya River at Berwick, near Morgan City.

The river at Morgan City reached the 10-foot stage for only the second time in history. The only other times that happened was when the Morganza Spillway was activated to alleviate Mississippi River flooding in 1973 and 2011.

On the southern and western shores of Lake Pontchartrain, water levels were about 3 to 4 feet above normal high tide at Lakeshore Park in New Orleans and about 4 to 5 feet above normal where the Bonnet Carre Floodway empties into the lake west of New Orleans, near LaPlace.

Streets on Dauphin Island, Alabama, were covered by 1- to 2-foot deep water and 2- to 3-foot deep sand from coastal flooding on Saturday, July 13.

Storm surge only produced a 1-foot rise on the Mississippi River at New Orleans.

Rainfall

Barry spared much of southeast Louisiana, including New Orleans, from serious flooding since dry air and strong northerly winds aloft kept much of its heavy rain offshore.

Torrential rain did soak southeastern Louisiana one day before Barry formed on Wednesday morning, July 10.

The National Weather Service issued a rare flash flood emergency for much of the New Orleans metro area that morning. Parts of the city picked up over 10 inches of rain in just a few hours, triggering widespread street flooding.

(NEWS: New Orleans Flash Flooding)

Barry's heaviest rain fell well after landfall in southwest and central Louisiana on July 15 and in southwest Arkansas the following day.

Rainfall totals of 12 to nearly 24 inches were reported in parts of southwest and central Louisiana from Barry, resulting in flooding on numerous roads. The top rainfall total was 23.58 inches near Ragley.

The contours show estimated rainfall from Barry. Rain gauge reports are plotted.

Barry's remnant circulation tracked into Missouri by the next day, but a stalled band of heavy rain set up to its south in Arkansas early on July 16.

Water rescues and closed or washed-out roads were reported in northeastern Hempstead, Howard and central Nevada counties in Arkansas, prompting a flash flood emergency to be issued.

A portion of Interstate 30 in Clark County, Arkansas, had to be closed because of the floodwaters, according to the state's Department of Transportation.

The highest total from a rain gauge in Arkansas was 16.59 inches near Dierks. That has set a preliminary new record for the most rainfall from a tropical cyclone or the remnants of a tropical cyclone in the state. The previous record was 13.91 inches from Tropical Storm Allison in 1989.

Barry's remnants also spread locally heavy rain through the Ohio Valley and parts of the Northeast before pushing off the Eastern Seaboard early July 18.

Here are some of the peak rainfall totals by state from Barry and its remnants, according to NOAA's Weather Prediction Center.

ALABAMA:

-Near Montrose: 9.33 inches

-Near Fairhope: 8.36 inches

-Near Mobile: 6.03 inches

ARKANSAS:

-Near Dierks: 16.59 inches

-Murfreesboro: 14.58 inches

-Langley: 12.73 inches

FLORIDA:

-Walnut Hill: 4.77 inches

-Near Century: 3.94 inches

-Pensacola: 2.10 inches

LOUISIANA:

-Near Ragley: 23.58 inches

-Near Oberlin: 18.16 inches

-Near Marksville: 16.08 inches

-Baton Rouge: 6.62 inches

-Lafayette: 5.16 inches

-New Orleans (Louis Armstrong Airport): 1.04 inches

MISSISSIPPI:

-Near Pass Christian: 13.30 inches

-Near Ocean Springs: 9.97 inches

-Near Vicksburg: 8.02 inches

MISSOURI:

-Near Poplar Bluff: 5.35 inches

-Cape Girardeau: 4.72 inches

TENNESSEE:

-Near Cookeville: 6.09 inches

-Memphis: 5.23 inches

TEXAS:

-Beaumont: 4.61 inches

-Silsbee: 3.37 inches

Winds

The strongest winds were generally east and south of the center of Barry near the Gulf Coast.

Multiple roofs were damaged on homes and businesses in Morgan City, Louisiana.

Video showed an airplane hangar blown over and rolled near Jeanerette, Louisiana.

Siding was torn off apartments in Lafayette, Louisiana, early Sunday morning, July 14, from winds estimated at 50 to 55 mph. Some trees and power lines were also downed in other parts of the city.

Due to soaked ground, wind gusts of 20 to 40 mph were sufficient to down numerous trees early Sunday morning, July 14, in Adams County, Mississippi, in the state's southwestern corner.

Here are the peak wind gusts measured during Barry, according to NOAA's Weather Prediction Center.

-Pinto Island, Alabama: 72 mph

-Cypremort Point, Louisiana: 67 mph

-Berwick, Louisiana: 63 mph

-New Iberia, Louisiana: 61 mph

Water recedes from around a fish camp following Hurricane Barry on July 14, 2019 in Wilkerson Bayou, La. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Water recedes from around a fish camp following Hurricane Barry on July 14, 2019 in Wilkerson Bayou, La. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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