Update 7/11 at 10:57 a.m.: A Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch are in effect for much of Louisiana’s coast after a system formed into Tropical Storm Barry this morning. While the National Hurricane Center forecast still indicates Barry will head west, locals are advised to use caution over the next several days.
Parts of the Florida panhandle are still forecasted for rains and mild winds through Sunday.
A high risk of dangerous rip currents is in effect from Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon due to the track of Tropical Storm Barry to the south. A double red flag has been posted, closing Navarre Beach to swimmers. Residents and visitors are warned that even if the skies are clear, the surf will be dangerous for all levels of swimmers.
A potential for locally heavy rains also exists due to the storm system and motorists are reminded to “turn around, don’t drown” when encountering flooded roadways.
Rip currents, on average, kill more people in Florida than hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning combined (FloridaDisaster.org Severe Weather Awareness). As of June 23, there have been 12 rip current deaths in Florida; four in Panama City Beach and three in Destin (National Weather Service Surf Zone Fatalities).
Rip currents do not pull people under the water – they pull people away from shore. Drowning deaths occur when swimmers are pulled offshore and unable to keep themselves afloat or swim back to the beach.
Rip current safety tips:
- Always swim near a lifeguard.
- If caught in a rip current, remain calm.
- Don’t fight the current.
- Swim in a direction following the shoreline.
- If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.
- If tired, float or tread water until out of the rip current.
Update 7/10 at 12:12 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center anticipates a tropical development in the northern Gulf of Mexico has potential to reach hurricane status by the weekend.
The system has not yet become a tropical depression, but forecasters expect it to strengthen today or by Thursday. The cone of probability for this storm has it making its way toward the southeast coast of Louisiana by Friday evening. Risks to that area include dangerous storm surge.
Hurricane Center maps show mild winds and moderate rainfall effecting parts of the Florida panhandle throughout the weekend. No watches or warnings have been issued for Florida in relation to this storm at this time.
As for this weekend’s scheduled Blue Angels air show along Pensacola Beach, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels issued a statement that they have not made any changes to current plans at this time.
“The Blue Angels are monitoring the storm and will not make a decision to cancel or postpone their performance until the last possible second,” the statement issued on social media reads.
Additional updates will be made as new information becomes available.
Original 7/8 10:24 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center has upped the chance of tropical development in the Gulf to 80% as of Monday morning.
“There is a low-pressure system moving out of the southeastern states which will move into the northeastern Gulf Tuesday night,” David Eversole, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mobile, said in an interview Monday morning.
Eversole said after that it will begin a westward movement in the Gulf, but the forecast beyond that is uncertain. “There is a ridge of high-pressure aloft which will steer it westward, but these systems can actually change the weather system around them.”
The development will continue to be monitored by the National Hurricane Center and at the very least our area will see increased rain chances and a high risk of rip currents by Thursday. The possibility exists for the storm to strengthen as Gulf waters have been very warm.
Eversole said storms will be likely Wednesday and Thursday, and possibly into Friday. Navarre Press will continue to update you on the latest