TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The second named storm has formed with the potential to become a weak hurricane before making landfall in Louisiana this weekend.
Tropical Storm Barry continues to swirl in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to slowly strengthen over the next day as environmental conditions become more favorable. Current intensity forecast from the National Hurricane Center has Barry becoming a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75 miles per hour prior to landfall.
Regardless of whether Barry stays a tropical storm or becomes a weak hurricane, the result is going to be the same. There will be some big flooding issues for most of Louisiana, explains FOX 13's meteorologist Tyler Eliasen.
"Number one, you're dumping a lot of rainfall," he explained. "There will be rainfall totals here of 10 to 20 inches across parts of southern Louisiana [in the next several days]."
The Mississippi River is already swollen from springtime flood waters flowing south, as well as recent heavy rains. Adding to that, a swath of 10-20 inches of rain is expected to fall across southern Louisiana and parts of Mississippi over the next few days.
The system is moving slowly, which could result in a long duration of heavy rainfall, according to the National Hurricane Center. There could be between four and six feet of storm surge.
"You think about the spin around hurricanes, right?" Eliasen said. "We have onshore flow anywhere east of where the center comes to ashore. So you've got an onshore flow of at least a few hours around New Orleans and much of the flood plains of southern Louisiana."
Basically, Eliasen said, the storm would push water onshore and dump rain as well, creating dangerous conditions for the state that's already facing flooding troubles.
"The flooding issues could be catastrophic in spots," he said. "Places like Baton Rouge down to Lafayette -- perhaps as far east as New Orleans."
The levees only protect up to 20 feet along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, and the forecast height for the river is up to 20 feet by Saturday night and there is likely to be water spilling over in some areas.
This story was written in Tampa, Florida.