Barry strengthens to hurricane status before landfall in Louisiana

By  | 

Lafayette, LA (KBTX) - Barry strengthened to a Category 1 Hurricane just ahead of making landfall on the Central Louisiana coast Saturday morning.

As of the 10am, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical storm as the center of circulation was moving inland, about 40 miles south of Lafayette and 50 miles west of Morgan City, Louisiana. Sustained wind speed of 75mph was noted in the latest advisory.

A National Ocean Service station at Eugene Island reported winds of 71mph with gusts up to 85mph. Radar estimates suggested winds of 69 to 75mph. Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported the same. It is estimated that Barry became a hurricane around 6am to 7am despite the less than classical appearance on satellite.

Hurricane force winds were confined to a small area just east of the center of the storm. The large scale issues of flooding rain and storm surge will remain the main impacts as stated in previous advisories and forecasts. Tropical storm force wind gusts are forecast to be felt as far away as West Florida through Saturday evening.

The center of Barry is expected to cross the Louisiana coast by midday, then slowly move north-northwest then north through Louisiana. Barry is expected to quickly weaken below hurricane strength as it moves onshore.

Cloud cover around the broad, outer flow of Barry was reaching parts of the far Eastern Brazos Valley Saturday morning. A few showers and isolated downpours are possible for areas along and east of I-45 Saturday.