Gulf Oil Rigs Evacuated, Houston Residents Told To ‘Prepare For Hurricane,’ New Orleans Closes Flood Gates
The 2019 hurricane season is now in full swing as massive, unorganized thunderstorms begin to take on a cyclonic structure over the warm Gulf of Mexico. Today, it’s called Invest 92L, but it is soon to be Tropical Storm Barry (and probably Hurricane Barry). And it has both Houston and New Orleans bracing for impact.
“Invest” storms mean a storm is a cause for cyclonic development concern. In the case of Invest 92L, it’s genesis is a non-traditional U.S. mainland path. In laymen’s terms, a compilation of thunderstorm activity moved off the Southeast coast of the United States and is now floating over the Gulf of Mexico. Soon, probably sometime today, this mass will move over hot gulf waters. When that happens, development into a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, and soon Hurricane, may happen in short order.
The major influencers for tropical cyclonic development are warm waters and low wind shear. Forecasters believe both of these conditions are set from the Mississippi/Louisiana border all the way down to just north of Corpus Cristi, Texas.
The influencer for where this likely Hurrican Barry will hit is atmospheric steering. In the case of Barry, that means a ridge of high-pressure building over the midwest. As that moves across the midwest, it likely meets up with Barry and forces it to reverse back across the Gulf of Mexico. In this case, New Orleans and Mississipi are in the crosshairs. But the strength of the high-pressure ridge will impact the steering. If the ridge turns out to be weaker than projected, Barry slides through and enters Texas. For Houston residents still unsettled from Hurricane Harvey’s massive flooding event, that’s cause for concern.
#92L has evolved over land w/a complex combo of a series of MCSs/MCVs (mesoscale convective systems/vortexes) seen on radar & a deeper swirl evident on water vapor (rad/sat since last Wed night)… Next step is to head out over the Gulf & consolidate its spin & convection… pic.twitter.com/f3W7qbsRpd
— Stu Ostro (@StuOstro) July 8, 2019
Hurricane Barry Timeline
How do we get to Hurricane Barry?
Today, the mass of storms probably becomes a Tropical Depression. Tomorrow, it upgrades into a Tropical Storm. On Friday, Hurricane Barry is upon us and threatening Mississipi, Louisiana, or Texas.
Hurricane Barry Preparation Warnings Issued For New Orleans, Houston
It’s standard procedure for the gulf coast. Unlike tropical storm activity in the Atlantic or Pacific, gulf storms often give little in the way of warnings.
Here’s what preparations are ongoing today.
New Orleans Hurricane Preparedness
The New Orleans’ National Weather Service is calling for preparations of the city’s flood gates. If Barry turns into Louisiana, it will push gulf waters back up the Mississipi River. This will result in water pushing into the city of New Orleans as water topples flood gates.
The Miss. River forecast at New Orleans Carrollton gage was updated this afternoon to a crest of 19ft on Fri. nto Sat. to account for potential storm surge impacts on lower Miss. River. The forecast was closely coordinated with Corps of Engineers & the NHC Storm Surge Unit. 1/2
— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) July 9, 2019
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Houston Hurricane Preparedness
Officials are asking Houston residents to prepare for the possibility of a major hurricane strike over the weekend. Remember, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was condemned for not evacuating Houston residents during Hurricane Harvey, so the city may act in a more proactive manner should Barry steer their direction.
“Knowing how to communicate in a disaster (is key),” said Houston’s Office of Emergency Management official, Cory Stottlemyer. “How are you going to have those communication means? Do you have extra chargers for your phone? Do you have batteries for a radio?”
We have a full Hurricane survival list here. Please share this list with others in the area. Today’s warning is certain to cause grocery store shelves to empty and gas station lines to form. Whatever you do, make sure you get water, canned goods, and fill up all your gas tanks. If evacuation orders do happen, if you don’t have gas, you’ll wait for hours to get a tank.
Major U.S. Oil Rigs Being Evacuated Today
Oil rigs located throughout the Gulf of Mexico are being evacuated mandatorily today. Orders for Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, BHP Group Ltd, and Chevron Corp will help to clear those rigs of workers to preempt incoming rough seas. Additionally, it would be impossible to evacuate using helicopters during tropical storm conditions. Some essential staff may remain for now as the forecast for a likely Hurricane Barry continues to evolve.
NOAA Water Vapor Loop
In the NOAA image below, we can see Hurricane Barry forming through intense water vapor activity over the Gulf of Mexico. The bright blue areas show areas of heavier water vapor. This activity coordinates with areas where Hurricane Barry is likely to form. This is, in laymen’s terms, hurricane fuel.
You can compare the water vapor map with Orlando’s CBS affiliate weather model map that shows the path and formation-conducive area.
UPDATE: This system will move away from Florida. pic.twitter.com/qMwLG3kk9t
— Troy Bridges (@TroyNews6) July 9, 2019
Hurricane Preparedness Shortlist
- Get Gas
- Charge Cell Phones/Laptops
- Canned Foods
- Bottled Water
- Toilet Paper
Go early, beat the rush. The last thing you want to do is wait in long lines or not be able to purchase basic needs. If you don’t need it this time, you’ll likely get use out of it in the future. Preparedness is an ongoing activity.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.