Storm in Gulf of Mexico strengthens into tropical storm; expected to turn into Hurricane Barry this weekend

Tropical Storm Barry continues to move slowly westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The storm is forecast to reach near hurricane strength as it turns to the northwest and approaches the Louisiana coast on Saturday.

The main threat for Louisiana will be extremely heavy rain. Some areas west of New Orleans could receive 15-20 inches of rain. These are amounts almost as high as what Hurricane Florence brought to North Carolina last year, and could cause catastrophic flooding.

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There will also be a storm surge of 3-5 feet along the Louisiana coast and winds gusting to 70 or 80mph.

Barry may not quite reach hurricane strength-- winds of 74 miles per hour-- but it will still cause significant problems for the central Gulf Coast.

The storms will weaken and move into Arkansas by early next week.

If Barry does become a hurricane, it will be the first time a hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. in July since 2014.

That storm, you may remember, was Arthur, which hit the Outer Banks as a Category 2 storm with 100 miles per hour winds on July 3, 2014.
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No impacts are expected in central North Carolina, although some remnant moisture from the storm could up our rain chances late next week.

The Assosciated Press contributed to this post.
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