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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Potential Tropical Cyclone Two has officially become Tropical Storm Barry in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
The tropical disturbance strengthened to become Barry Thursday morning. Storm Team 8 has been tracking the disturbance for days now, watching closely as it strengthened and organized in the Gulf.
NOAA Hurricane Hunters report maximum sustained winds around 40 mph. The National Hurricane Center says further strengthening is expected in the next few days. Barry could become a hurricane by late Friday.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the system is about 200 miles southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana. It’s about 95 miles away from the mouth of the Mississippi River. The disturbance is moving toward the west at about 5 mph.
Several watches and warnings are in place in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Louisiana Coast from the mouth of the Pear River to Morgan City. The coast is also under a storm surge warning from the mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach.
A tropical storm watch is now in place for the Mississippi coast east of the mouth of the Pearl River to the state’s border with Alabama. The tropical storm watch also impacts the coast from Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including metropolitan New Orleans. A storm surge watch is in effect for the Mississippi coast from the mouth of the Pear River to the Alabama border.