On July 13th, 2019, Tropical Storm Barry made landfall on the coast of Louisiana in the early afternoon hours. After briefly becoming a Category 1, Barry weakened as it approached the coast and proceeded to pose numerous risks to those in the southeastern portion of the United States. After landfall, Barry moved into the interior United States at a slow pace, which led to flooding threats into the states that were in its path. Barry’s impacts were felt as far away as Toronto, Ontario, Canada, when they reported seeing about 60 millimeters of rain on July 17th, when the remains of Barry were just to the south of the city.
This storm, at landfall, was a tropical storm and not powerful enough to be measured on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. However, Barry’s impacts were known before making landfall. For example, New Orleans, Louisiana received a total of 6-9 inches from this storm of the city to flood. This disrupted travel and caused some businesses to shut down. The flooding was magnified due to abnormally high water levels of the Mississippi River. New Orleans started to experience flooding a few days prior to landfall because of Barry’s asymmetrical shape.
Furthermore, Gulf Coast coastal cities experienced life-threatening storm surge due to the movement of water caused by Barry. For example, Biloxi, Mississippi had to deal with 2-4 feet of storm surge, which prompted the National Weather Service to issue a storm surge warning to anyone within their area of coverage. While 2-4 feet of storm surge may not seem like a whole lot, it was powerful enough to cause the sand on Biloxi’s beaches to wash across the road and shut down some of the roads near the coast.
Once Barry made landfall, the threats of flooding continued to move inland. The storm did not go back out to sea, but it dumped all of its energy out as rain inland. In Tennessee, the rainfall totals from the remains of Barry totaled around 2-8 inches, which prompted flash flood warnings throughout the state and only increased the damage from this year’s high counts of flooding.
Overall, it is estimated Barry caused between roughly 500-900 million dollars worth of damage Weaker storms like Barry can and will have life-long effects, even though they may not be as powerful as major hurricanes. The key thing to remember is that a tropical storm, no matter the strength, can have impacts that extend far beyond the coast where it made landfall.
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Sources: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2019/BARRY.shtml?,https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5e/Barry_2019_track.png/800px-Barry_2019_track.png, https://www.weather.gov/images/lix/5day_BarryRainfall_2019_07_16.png
©2019 Weather Forecaster Shannon Sullivan