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Gorgeous Thursday, then weekend heat and humidity; New Orleans hurricane watch

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If you could put in a request for your ideal summer weather, you might very well order up a day like Thursday. Winds will be light, the sun will be shining and temps and humidity will be comfortable.

I wouldn't mind several days like this, but some steamier air is in the forecast for the weekend.

Temperature trends

Highs around 80 or in the lower 80s will be common across Minnesota and western Wisconsin this Thursday afternoon. There will probably be a few upper 70s in parts of northeastern Minnesota.

Friday highs reach well into the 80s in central and southern Minnesota:

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Sticky dew points return to the southern half of Minnesota Friday afternoon.

Saturday highs are well into the 80s in most areas, with cooler temps to the northeast:

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On Sunday, some spots in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area will see 90 or higher:

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We could see dew point temperatures in the lower 70s in the metro area and southern Minnesota Sunday afternoon. I'd call that steam heat!

Metro area highs are projected to reach the lower 90s Monday through Wednesday of next week.

Rain and thunder chances

Our Thursday will be rain-free in most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Scattered showers and thunderstorms could move into northwestern Minnesota Thursday evening, then spread to the east and southeast overnight Thursday night and into Friday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) forecast model shows the potential rain pattern Thursday afternoon through Friday morning:

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NOAA HRRR simulated radar from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of rain.  As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

At this point, it looks like a few scattered showers or isolated thunderstorms could pop up during the afternoon and early evening hours this weekend.

New Orleans braces for heavy rain and strong winds

The National Hurricane Center has this forecast for the disturbance or circulation that's currently over the Gulf of Mexico:

the disturbance is expected to become a

tropical depression or a tropical storm later today or Friday.

* Formation chance through 48 hours...high...near 100 percent

* Formation chance through 5 days ...high...near 100 percent

The New Orleans area has already received 6 to 9 inches of rain in the past day or two, and another 10 to 15 inches are possible over the next few days:

Here's the National Hurricane Center's projected track of what could become Tropical Storm Barry or Hurricane Barry over the next couple of days:

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National Hurricane Center

___________________________________________________________________________________

10 a.m. Update

The disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico has reached tropical storm strength. Here's the new advisory from the National Hurricane Center:

BULLETIN

Tropical Storm Barry Advisory Number 5

NWS cMiami FL AL022019

1000 AM CDT Thu Jul 11 2019

...DISTURBANCE BECOMES TROPICAL STORM BARRY...

...DANGEROUS STORM SURGE, HEAVY RAINS, AND WIND CONDITIONS EXPECTED

ACROSS THE NORTH-CENTRAL GULF COAST...

SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION

-----------------------------------------------

LOCATION...27.8N 88.7W

ABOUT 95 MI...150 KM SSE OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

ABOUT 200 MI...320 KM SE OF MORGAN CITY LOUISIANA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 5 MPH...7 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1005 MB...29.68 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect for the Louisiana coast

from the Mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City.

A Storm Surge Warning is now in effect for the Louisiana coast from

the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach.

A Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect for the Mississippi coast

east of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama

border...and for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including

metropolitan New Orleans.

A Storm Surge Watch is now in effect for the Mississippi coast from

the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

* Mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...

* Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...

* Shell Beach to the Mississippi/Alabama border

* Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Intracoastal City

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

* Mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

* East of the Mouth of the Pearl River to the Mississippi/Alabama

border

* Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New

Orleans

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening

inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline

during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. For a

depiction of areas at risk please see the National Weather

Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic available at

hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons

located within these areas should take all necessary actions to

protect life and property from rising water and the potential for

other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other

instructions from local officials.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-

threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the

coastline in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible

within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours

before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force

winds conditions that make outside preparations difficult or

dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area generally within 48 hours.

Additional watches and warnings may be required for portions of the

northern Gulf coast later today or tonight. Interests elsewhere

along the Gulf Coast from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida

Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible

inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your

local National Weather Service forecast office.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

----------------------

At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Barry was

located near latitude 27.8 North, longitude 88.7 West. Barry is

moving toward the west near 5 mph (7 km/h) and this motion is

expected to continue today. A turn toward the west-northwest is

expected tonight, followed by a turn toward the northwest on

Friday. On the forecast track the center of Barry will be near the

central or southeastern coast of Louisiana Friday night or Saturday.

Reports from Air Force Reserve and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft

indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph

(65 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected

during the next day or two, and Barry could become a hurricane late

Friday or early Saturday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km)

mainly to the southeast of the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

----------------------

Key Messages for Barry can be found in the Tropical Cyclone

Discussion under AWIPS header MIATCDAT2 and WMO header WTNT32 KNHC.

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the

tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by

rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could

reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated

areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Mouth of the Atchafalaya River to Shell Beach...3 to 6 ft

Shell Beach to the Mississippi/Alabama border...2 to 4 ft

Intracoastal City to the Mouth of the Atchafalaya River...2 to 4 ft

Lake Pontchartrain...1 to 3 ft

Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge

and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For

information specific to your area, please see products issued by

your local National Weather Service forecast office.

RAINFALL: Barry is expected to produce total rain accumulations of

10 to 15 inches near and inland of the central Gulf Coast through

early next week, with isolated maximum rainfall amounts of 20 inches

across portions of eastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Tropical

Storm Warning area by Friday. Hurricane conditions are possible

within the Hurricane Watch area by Friday night, with tropical storm

conditions possible in the Tropical Storm Watch area by Friday

night or Saturday.

TORNADOES: A tornado or two are possible tonight and Friday across

southern portions of Louisiana and Mississippi.

________________________________________________________________________________

Hurricane watches have been posted for Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center updates their advisories and tracks every few hours.  New Orleans is also under a flash flood watch and a storm surge watch.

The coming rains could produce near-record levels on the Mississippi River at New Orleans. The river has been running higher than normal for months now, due to heavy runoff from winter snows and spring rains to the north. The NOAA forecast shows the Mississippi River rising to about the 20 foot level this weekend at New Orleans:

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NOAA

That would be just 1.3 feet below the all-time record level for the Mississippi River at New Orleans.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.