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Wednesday morning update on soon-to-be Barry

TropicalTidbits

Here we are another day into "Barry Watch" and unfortunately there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this storm. With that said here are the things I am very sure about:

1. While this storm has not technically reached tropical storm status and been given a name, it will within the next 24 hours or so. This is about as certain as the Texans whiffing on their late round draft picks.

2. Someone along the Gulf coast is going to be dealing with a tropical storm or hurricane this weekend.

This is where the certainty ends. So with that said here is where things are standing:

Happening Now: The disturbance that will become Barry has drifted out into the Gulf west of Tampa and is firing off numerous thunderstorms, however it is not organized yet.


Satellite image showing thunderstorm activity in northeast Gulf. This is the embryo of Barry if you will.TropicalTidbits

How this blob of storms evolves and where it consolidates a center of circulation will be very important in figuring out where it is going.

Track: Again, there is still a lot of uncertainty with where Barry will go. Anywhere from the Mississippi/Louisiana border to Madagorda Bay is in play. There are a number of factors that are going to have an effect on an eventual track and getting them all figured out has been a challenge for the computer models thus far. Yesterday a consensus seemed to be forming that the central Louisiana coast was going to be the favored spot for landfall, however last night a number of models shifted further west (towards Texas) yet again. Unfortunately until this disturbance develops a defined center the models are going to continue to have more waffles and an IHOP.

GIF showing where the European Model projected Barry to be on Saturday evening over the last few model runs. As you can see it has continued to shift around quite a bit leading to uncertainty.TropicalTidbits

Speaking of that center of circulation, where it develops will have a big impact on the track. As I mentioned yesterday, if the center develops closer to the Florida Panhandle the storm will likely stay further away from us. If it develops further south and west out into the Gulf we are more in play. Another factor in Barry's path is how strong it gets. A stronger storm is going to feel different steering flows than a weaker storm. A stronger Barry will likely push further west, and more in our general direction, while a weaker Barry will get pulled north into Louisiana the coast a bit more quickly.


Spread in possible locations of where Barry might be Saturday morning according to this morning's European model run. All of those little "L"s represent a possible location of the center. Again this is just one model run, but I am using it to show that there is still a spread.Weathermodels.com


Strength: Similarly to the path question there is a lot of uncertainty on how strong Barry could get. Over the past day or so models have consistently trended stronger. Conditions are very favorable over the Gulf for this storm to strengthen. Right now I think realistic expectations should be anywhere from a mid level tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane. As I mentioned above, how strong Barry gets will also play a role in where it goes. So this is something that will need to be watched closely.

Impact: Wherever Barry goes it will bring copious amounts of rain. Right now it appears that Barry will not be strong enough to bring significant wind impacts much further inland from the immediate coast. Also it is important to keep in mind that the worst of the rain and wind will be confined largely to the right (east) side of the storm. For our area this means that we would have to take a direct strike or have it make landfall south of Galveston to see the worst of it. While we are not out of the woods yet in terms of a direct strike, landfall south of Galveston is on the far edge of the periphery of possible outcomes right now.

What To Do: We are close enough to a landfall time where it doesn't hurt to make sure you have hurricane supplies stocked up. We may not need them for this storm but we have a long way yet to go in hurricane season. If we don't get a storm this year then you just end up with some extra water or extra batteries (because lord knows you always need extra batteries for the remote). Preparedness with this storm is important because if the situation does change we will not have a ton of lead time. If Barry misses its exit to the Louisiana coast Texas is the next stop for what could be a strengthening storm. While that is not a for sure outcome its better to just be prepared just in case. Finally, if you do not already, please go ahead and give @nwshouston (Houston National Weather Service Office) and @NHC_Atlantic (The National Hurricane Center) a follow on Twitter. They will be putting out important information over the next several days.

I will be back tomorrow with hopefully some more answers. In the meantime though you can always find me on Twitter @stephenuzick if you have any questions.

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These next six games will be very telling. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Houston has six games left in the 2022 regular season, two three-game series in which they need just one more win, or a Yankees loss, to secure the top seed for the AL side of the postseason bracket. They've accomplished what they set out to do over the 162-game drudge that is the regular season, so you're likely to see them use the opportunity to get some players off their feet in the remaining games.

Even so, having one of the best teams means that while putting out a lineup with some starters missing, they can still beat most teams on any given day. So then, what could that mean for the teams still vying for postseason spots or positioning in the remaining games?

Affecting the NL playoffs

It's a relatively sure bet that if they haven't locked up that top seed by the time they enter the final three games, they will before that last series is over. That means that when the Phillies come to Minute Maid Park to close out the season next week, Philadelphia will have much higher stakes in those games than Houston.

Under the expanded playoff format starting this season, the two best teams in each league receive a bye, while the remaining four teams square off in a Wild Card series, with all those games taking place at the better seed's stadium. That means teams will be very motivated to secure their best Wild Card positioning.

As of now, the Phillies hold just a half-game lead over the Brewers for the third and final Wild Card spot for the National League. Things could change this weekend, but whether they still lead or have fallen back and have ground to makeup, the games will matter to them against the Astros.

They also sit 2.5 games behind the Padres, meaning that Philadelphia could potentially be looking at a chance to jump into the second Wild Card spot. However, it's questionable if that's an envious position or not. With the juggernaut battle between the Mets and Braves coming down to the wire, with one team winning the NL East and a first-round bye and the other starting with home-field advantage in a Wild Card series, whoever gets the second Wild Card spot is going to be heading to face a really tough, and potentially angry, team on the road.

It will make things interesting for the Phillies when they face the Astros. They could be playing for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. Either way, the games will be meaningful.

Affecting the AL playoffs

There's a similar scenario at play for the American League side of things with the Astros' three-game series against the Rays this weekend. Just like the Phillies, the Rays enter the weekend holding on to the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay is only 0.5 games back of the Mariners for the second spot and two games back of the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot. Farther behind, the Orioles still have a chance for something crazy to happen, sitting five games behind.

So based on the result of their series with the Astros and how the other teams fare this weekend and in the final stretch of games, the Rays have a range of outcomes that could cause havoc in the AL bracket. They could end up taking the top Wild Card spot and hosting a series, traveling to face the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Guardians, or, less likely, missing the playoffs altogether.

This variance in positioning could have ramifications for the Astros directly in the ALDS round as well. The Astros are likely to be favored regardless of the three potential teams they face; however, some matchups would make things easier.

Houston went 2-4 against the Blue Jays this year and are currently up 3-0 on the Rays with the three games remaining in the season series. And while the Astros took the season series 12-7 against division-rival Seattle, that could give the Mariners all the more reason to be ultra-motivated for the ALDS if they faced the Astros.

So, while the Astros may not have any direct milestones to play for other than locking up their top seed, these remaining six games will have plenty of storylines and drama to follow for them and their opponent.

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