Tropical storm and storm-surge watches are up for just about the entire Louisiana coast, from New Orleans to the Texas border.
And the National Hurricane Center is saying it’s all but certain that a cosmically soggy mass that was about 150 miles east-southeast of New Orleans on Wednesday will become the second named storm of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season by Thursday night.
Rainfall amounts of 10 to 15 inches are possible along the path of what eventually will become Hurricane Barry, which is expected to have peak winds of 85 mph when it makes landfall Friday.
The atmosphere over the New Orleans region is primed for downpours, says Brian Hurley, a senior meteorologist at the government Weather Prediction Center, outside Washington.
The “precipitable water” values — the moisture potential of the atmosphere — are borderline off the charts, even for New Orleans, said Hurley.
He said the values were better than 15 percent higher than they were over Washington on Monday when that region got clocked with a month’s worth of rain, flooding downtown streets and the White House basement.
Six to 9 inches of rain had fallen upon the New Orleans area by midday Wednesday, the hurricane center said.
In addition to the potential for flooding rains, the center said a “life-threatening” storm surge was possible along the coast.
It is too early for any conjecture on exactly what Barry might mean eventually for the Philadelphia region, but it’s likely we will have our own storms to deal with on Thursday, and that might have something to do with the Gulf storm as moisture streams northward, the weather service said.