(ACCUWEATHER) – Hurricane watches have been issued, a state of emergency has been declared in Louisiana and mandatory evacuations have been ordered in some places as Tropical Storm Barry formed over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday morning.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) declared Barry the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and moving west at 5 mph.
Barry is forecast to make landfall along the Louisiana coast Friday night or Saturday.
“There is a fairly high chance that Tropical Storm Barry will become a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
If so, Barry will become the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season.
“The key to whether Barry becomes a hurricane before landfall or not will depend on the amount of time it is able to spend over the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico,” Kottlowski said.
If Barry turns northward quickly and makes landfall Friday night, then it may not have time to strengthen to a hurricane.
If Barry tracks to the northwest for a longer period, it may not make landfall until later Saturday and would have more time to strengthen.