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Tropical Cyclone Report

Tropical Storm Barry

2 - 7 August 2001

Jack Beven
National Hurricane Center
20 November 2001
Revised: 22 April 2002

Barry was a strong tropical storm that caused minor damage in the western Florida Panhandle.

a. Synoptic history

Barry formed from a tropical wave that moved westward from the coast of Africa on 24 July. The wave moved westward across the tropical Atlantic with little development until the 28th, when convection started increasing just east of the Lesser Antilles. The system moved into the eastern Caribbean Sea on 29 July accompanied by poorly organized thunderstorms and gusty winds. Convection continued increasing on 30-31 July as the wave moved west-northwestward through the Caribbean. It moved into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on 1 August, accompanied by widespread heavy rains over southern Florida and western Cuba.

A broad 1014 mb low formed along the wave near Dry Tortugas, Florida late on 1 August. The low moved northwestward and intensified. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reached the center at 1829 UTC 2 August and found that the system had become Tropical Storm Barry. A large area of tropical storm winds existed north and east of the center, primarily due to interaction with a strong surface ridge. Post-analysis suggests that the low had become a tropical depression about 6 h earlier approximately 175 n mi west-northwest of Key West, Florida (Figure 1 and Table 1).

Barry may not have been fully tropical when it formed, because an upper level low was over the surface center. However, southwesterly upper level flow moved the upper low moved northeastward while Barry moved west-northwestward due to the ridge over the United States. This shear, combined with falling external surface pressures as the ridge weakened, caused it to weaken to a depression early on 4 August. Barry then remained in a generally unfavorable environment until early on the 5th. The weakening ridge caused the steering currents to collapse, and Barry slowed to a west-southwestward drift on the 3rd. This was followed by a general northeastward drift on the 4th.

Flow around a mid/upper level low dropping southward into the western Gulf states caused Barry to turn northward and accelerate on 5 August. Concentrated convection formed near the center early that day and this led to another significant burst of intensification. The central pressure fell from 1004 mb to 990 mb in 7 h as the organization of the system improved dramatically in satellite and radar imagery. Although the strengthening was short-lived, it made Barry a 60 kt cyclone. This intensity was maintained through landfall near Santa Rosa Beach, FL at 0500 UTC 6 August. Figure 2 is a reflectivity image from the Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) radar an hour before landfall showing that Barry was forming an eye and had strong convection in the northern eyewall.

The cyclone turned northwestward and weakened rapidly after landfall. It became a tropical depression over southern Alabama later on the 6th and further weakened to a low pressure area near Memphis, TN the next day. The remnant low dissipated over southeastern Missouri on the 8th.

b. Meteorological statistics

Table 1 shows the best track positions and intensities for Barry, with the track plotted in Figure 1. Figure 3 and Figure 4 depict the curves of minimum central sea-level pressure and maximum sustained one-minute average "surface" (10 m above ground level) winds, respectively, as functions of time. These figures also contain the data on which the curves are based: aircraft reconnaissance and dropsonde data from the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, satellite-based Dvorak technique intensity estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS), and the Air Force Weather Agency, and estimates from synoptic data.

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters made 35 center "fixes" during Barry. The maximum flight level winds reported by the aircraft were 71 kt just after the center made landfall. Additionally, an eyewall dropsonde measured 61 kt surface winds at 1847 UTC on the 5th. The maximum surface winds reported by an official land station were 42 kt with gusts to 69 kt at station C-72 of the Eglin AFB mesonet. Additional selected surface observations from official stations are included in Table 2.

Shortly after landfall, an unofficial observation from Seagrove Beach, FL reported a 3-minute average wind of 82 kt with gusts to 93 kt. This and the 71 kt flight-level wind suggested the possibility that Barry had reached hurricane strength just as it was making landfall. No official observations supported the Seagrove Beach data, so several efforts were made to verify its validity:

First, personnel from the NWS Forecast Office in Mobile, AL investigated the Seagrove Beach report. They indicate that the wind damage in the area was far less than what would be expected for the reported winds. This casts some doubt as to the accuracy of the data.

Second, additional analysis was conducted by the Hurricane Research Division using the HWIND system on the aircraft and surface data. The analysis yielded a maximum sustained wind at landfall of 62 kt.

Third, the WSR-88D radar at Eglin Air Force Base indicated hurricane-force winds about 1500 ft above the surface as Barry approached the coast. Unfortunately, the radar failed about an hour before landfall, and it is unknown how these winds evolved as the center reached the coast. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) conducted post-analysis of the radar wind data using some experimental algorithms. This was inconclusive as to whether the hurricane-force winds aloft reached the surface.

Fourth, the NHC sent a request to the public asking for additional observations from the landfall area. Over 30 supplemental reports were received, with the most significant and useful included in Table 3. Several of the wind reports were in the 60-65 kt range with higher gusts, which supports Barry being right on the threshold of a hurricane. However, the quality of this data is uncertain due to the mostly unknown accuracy and exposure of the instruments.

The lowest aircraft-measured pressure was 990 mb at 1154 UTC 5 August and again at landfall. The lowest pressure from an official station was 994.2 mb from the Eglin AFB mesonet (Table 2). The supplemental data included a 988.5 mb pressure in Freeport, FL (Table 3), which was likely in the eastern side of the eye. While this and a 989.1 mb observation in Destin were slightly lower than the landfall pressure reported by aircraft, the accuracy of these supplemental measurements is unknown. Therefore, the best track landfall pressure will be the 990 mb reported by the aircraft.

Most of the much-appreciated supplemental wind and pressure data are consistent with the wind and pressure values the NHC determined from reconnaissance data. However, due to the uncertainties in the data quality, the data are not quite enough to justify calling Barry a hurricane at landfall.

The core of Barry missed most ships and buoys. The most significant marine observation was from buoy 42039, which reported 39 kt sustained winds with gusts to 54 kt and a 1001.5 mb pressure at 2000 UTC 5 August. An unidentified ship reported 30 kt winds with gusts to 50 kt over the southeastern Gulf from 0200-1000 UTC 2 August. This, combined with data from the Coastal Marine Automated Network Station at the Dry Tortugas, provided evidence that the tropical wave was developing into a tropical cyclone.

Storm surges and tides associated with Barry were 2-3 ft near the landfall area in Bay and Walton counties. Tides of 2-3 ft above normal also occurred along portions of the southeast Louisiana coast in association with the strong winds early in Barry's life.

Storm total rainfalls were generally 5-9 inches over the Florida Panhandle near and east of where the center made landfall with 1-4 inches elsewhere in the affected area from southwestern Georgia to northern Mississippi. The maximum amount from an official station was 8.91 inches at Tallahassee, FL. Supplemental observations included 11.00 inches at WJHG-TV in Panama City, FL and 9.57 inches at Port St. Joe, Fl. These rains caused localized flooding. The pre-Barry tropical wave produced 3 to 8 inches of rain over portions of southern Florida with local amounts as high as 13 inches in Martin County. These rains helped relieve long-term drought conditions in south Florida.

One tornado has been confirmed in association with Barry - an F0 near Carrabelle, FL. The pre-Barry wave produced F0 tornadoes near Ft. Pierce and Boynton Beach, FL. All three tornadoes caused minor damage.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

Two deaths are directly associated with Barry: one due to a lightning strike in an outer band near Jacksonville, FL and one drowning in a rip current at Sanibel Island, FL. One indirect death occurred in a traffic accident during rains associated with Barry. Additionally, as the pre-Barry wave moved over Cuba and the Straits of Florida, associated winds and seas capsized a boat with Cuban refugees on board. Press reports indicate that 6 of the 28 passengers drowned.

The American Insurance Services Group estimates insured property damage from Barry to be $15 million. Applying a 2:1 ratio of total damage to insured damage, the total damage from Barry is estimated to be $30 million.

d. Forecast and warning critique

Table 4 shows the average errors during the tropical storm stage of Barry for the official NHC track forecast and a selection of objective guidance models. The NHC errors were 31 (8 forecasts), 49 (5 forecasts), 105 (4 forecasts), 156 (5 forecasts), and 244 n mi (3 forecasts) for 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h respectively. The average errors were better than the 10-yr (1991-2000) average at 12, 24, and 36 h and worse than both the 10-yr average and Climatology-Persistence (CLIPER) at 48 and 72 hr. Several of the objective guidance models had better average errors than the official forecasts. The most notable was the Aviation model (AVNO), which was the overall best performer on Barry.

Analysis of the individual official track forecasts indicates there was a significant westward bias. This resulted from the belief that the strong deep layer ridge over the central United States would hold and move Barry westward, possibly with a landfall in Louisiana. Several later forecasts better anticipated the strength of the Gulf coast trough and correctly forecast landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

The official intensity forecast errors were 7, 11, 9, 13, and 7 kt at 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 h respectively. These errors are near the 10-yr average at 12 and 24 h and below the 10-yr average at the other times.

Table 5 shows the watches and warnings issued for Barry. Hurricane warnings were issued for portions of the northern Gulf coast in anticipation that Barry's rapid strengthening on the 5th would continue. These were somewhat short-fused with a lead time of about 16 hours. The early erroneous track forecasts led to watches and warnings along portions of the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts that did not verify.

Barry was forecast to become an inland flooding threat after landfall. However, a faster than expected motion and weakening led to inland rainfall totals being less than anticipated.

Acknowledgments

Much of the data in this report were provided by the local National Weather Service forecast offices in Slidell, LA, Mobile, AL, and Tallahasee, FL. Buoy and C-MAN station data were provided by the National Data Buoy Center. Many of the supplemental observations were forwarded to the NHC by Jason Kelley of TV station WJHG in Panama City, FL. Rich Henning of the Hurricane Hunters and Eglin Air Force Base contributed other supplemental observations as well as the Eglin radar data. Bill Frederick contributed the forecast verification data, and Colin McAdie analyzed the radar data.



Table 1:
Date/Time
(UTC)
PositionPressure
(mb)
Wind Speed
(kt)
Stage
Lat. (°N)Lon. (°W)
02 / 120025.784.8101130tropical depression
02 / 180026.284.9101045tropical storm
03 / 000026.485.6100740"
03 / 060026.686.3100835"
03 / 120026.987.0100735"
03 / 180026.887.2100735"
04 / 000026.787.5100530tropical depression
04 / 060026.687.8100530"
04 / 120026.987.7100630"
04 / 180027.187.5100535tropical storm
05 / 000027.387.3100335"
05 / 060027.586.7100440"
05 / 120028.186.499050"
05 / 180028.686.499160"
06 / 000029.586.399260"
06 / 060030.686.499160"
06 / 120031.886.9100725tropical depression
06 / 180032.787.7100920"
07 / 000033.388.5101215"
07 / 060034.089.1101515remnant low
07 / 120034.789.7101710"
07 / 180035.689.8101810"
08 / 000036.689.9101610"
08 / 060037.590.0101710"
08 / 1200dissipated
05 / 120028.186.499050minimum pressure
06 / 050030.486.399060Landfall at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida


Table 2: Tropical Storm Barry selected surface observations, 2 - 7 August 2001.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
Alabama
Dothan06/0736 1013.6 06/0940 21 26   1.22 
Evergreen06/1032 1006.1 05/1739 20 28   1.23 
Fort Rucker       3.50 
Maxwell AFB       3.21 
Troy       4.05 
Florida
Apalachicola06/0019 1011.9 06/0739 27 41   6.40 
Destin#06/0449 999.3 06/0421 31 42    
Crestview06/0656 996.6 06/0603 31 44   2.18 
Eglin A-5  06/0450 28f 39    
Eglin C-5206/0541 994.2 06/0525 27f 52    
Eglin C-7206/0613 995.6 06/0535 42f 69    
Mary Esther06/0555 1005.6 06/0455 24 42   0.71 
Panama City Bay Cnty. Aprt.06/0141 1008.1 06/0440 26 35   5.19 
Panama City Tyndall AFB06/0255 1009.8 05/2350 25 42   8.68 
Tallahassee06/0701 1013.5 06/0222 20 26   8.91 
Valparaiso 06/5555 998.6 06/0655 35e 55e   3.92 
NOAA Buoys and C-MAN Stations
Buoy 4200304/1000 1009.7 05/1400 30$ 39    
Buoy 4203605/0800 1011.6 02/2000 29 37    
Buoy 4203905/2000 1001.5 05/2000 39  54    
Cape San Blas FL (CSBF1)06/0000 1009.8 30/1400 35$ 44    
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
eEstimated.
f2 min average
$10 min average
#Incomplete record


Table 3: Tropical Storm Barry supplemental unofficial surface observations, 2-7 August 2001.
Minimum
Sea-level
Pressure
Maximum Surface Wind Speed
(kt)
LocationDate/
Time
(UTC)
Press.
(mb)
Date/
Timea
(UTC)
Sust.
Windb
(kts)
Peak
Gust (kts)
Storm
Surgec
(ft)
Storm
Tided
(ft)
Rain
(storm total)
(in)
Alabama
Andalusia     3.12   
Florala     3.48   
Red Level06/0930 1003.0 06/0818  34 3.00   
Florida
Callaway     7.78   
Crestview (Davidson HS)06/0824 998.3 06/0724  35    
DeFuniak Springs06/0630 997.9    4.60   
Destin 989.1  62h 69    
Destin 5-10 E  06/0440 48 63    
Destin AWS06/0435 1004.1 06/0500  40    
Destin Harbore  06/0500 65 75    
Fort Walton Beach (Choctawhatchee HS) 1002.7 06/0613  35    
Freeport06/0440 988.5       
Hiland Park 1007.8    5.45   
Lynn Haven     7.80   
Mary Esther 3 SSW HRT     5.20   
Miramar Beach06/0503 991.8  57 73    
Niceville  06/0440  57    
Panama City Bay HS     6.53   
Panama City The Cove     9.56   
Panama City WJHG-TV     11.00   
Phillips Inlet   64g  4.05   
Port St. Joe     9.57   
Santa Rosa Beach  06/0426  70    
Seagrove Beach  06/0450 82f 93    
St. Andrews State Parke 991.8 06/0310 63f     
St. George Island     4.48   
Wasuau 3 E     8.80   
aDate/time is for wind gust when both sustained and gust are listed.
bExcept as noted, sustained wind averaging periods for C-MAN and land-based ASOS reports are 2 min; buoy averaging periods are 8 min.
cStorm surge is water height above normal astronomical tide level.
dStorm tide is water height above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (1929 mean sea level).
eSailboat, likely with non-standard anemometer elevation.
f3 minute average.
g1 minute average.
h4 minute average.


Table 4: Preliminary track forecast evaluation for Tropical Storm Barry - heterogeneous sample. Errors in nautical miles for tropical storm and hurricane stages with number of forecasts in parentheses. Bold numbers represent forecasts which were better than the official forecast.
Forecast TechniquePeriod (hours)
1224364872
CLIP42 (8)76 (5)109 (4)148 (5)171 (3)
GFDI24 (8)55 (5)140 (4)234 (5)369 (5)
GFDL*30 (8)44 (5)122 (4)200 (5)273 (3)
LBAR40 (8)84 (5)168 (4)194 (5)293 (3)
VBRI*45 (8)118 (5)162 (4)161 (5)149 (3)
VBAR29 (6)58 (4)148 (4)184 (4)163 (2)
AVNI26 (7)30 (4)73 (4)74 (4)86 (2)
AVNO*29 (8)18 (5)37 (4)71 (5)98 (3)
BAMD31 (8)63 (5)134 (4)170 (5)255 (3)
BAMM32 (8)73 (5)146 (4)174 (5)281 (3)
BAMS36 (8)79 (5)166 (4)222 (5)358 (3)
NGPI*38 (8)62 (5)124 (4)179 (5)320 (3)
NGPS36 (3)63 (1)117 (1)179 (2)356 (1)
UKMI30 (6)35 (3)58 (3)107 (2)98 (1)
UKM*31 (3)39 (1)58 (1)82 (2)99 (1)
A98E39 (8)46 (5)63 (4)92 (5)136 (3)
A9UK34 (3)16 (1)112 (1)98 (2)99 (1)
GUNS24 (6)34 (3)95 (3)183 (2)221 (1)
GUNA19 (6)32 (3)70 (3)136 (2)160 (1)
NHC Official31 (8)49 (5)105 (4)156 (5)244 (3)
NHC Official 10-Year Average (1991-2000)44 (2049)82 (1835)118 (1646)151 (1475)225 (1187)
*Output from these models was unavailable at time of forecast issuance.


Table 5: Watch and warning summary, Tropical Storm Barry, 2 - 7 August 2001.
Date/TimeActionLocation
03/1500Tropical storm watch issuedSoutheast Louisiana from Mouth of Pearl River to Morgan City 
04/1500Tropical storm warning issuedMississippi Delta region of Louisiana from Grand Isle to the Mouth of the Pearl River...including New Orleans and adjacent lakes 
04/1500Tropical storm watch issuedMouth of the Pearl River eastward to Panama City, Florida and west of Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana 
04/2100Tropical storm warning extendedGrand Isle, Louisiana to Apalachicola, Florida 
05/0300Tropical storm watch discontinuedWest of Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana 
05/1300Hurricane warning issuedPascagoula, Mississippi eastward to the Ochlockonee River, Florida 
05/1300Tropical storm warning extendedEastward from east of the Ochlockonee River to the Mouth of the Suwanee River, Florida 
05/2100Tropical storm warning discontinuedGrand Isle, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River including New Orleans 
06/0300Hurricane warning changed to tropical storm warningWest of Pensacola, Florida to just east of Pascagoula, Mississippi 
06/0300All warnings discontinuedPascagoula, Mississippi westward 
06/0700Hurricane warning downgraded to a tropical storm warningApalachicola to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 
06/0700All warnings discontinuedEast of Apalachicola and west of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 
06/1200Tropical storm warning discontinuedApalachicola to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 

Figure 1: Best track for Tropical Storm Barry, 2-7 August 2001.

Figure 2: Eglin Air Force Base WSR-88D radar reflectivity image of Barry at 0354 UTC 6 August 2001.

Figure 3: Best track minimum central pressure curve for Tropical Storm Barry, 2-7 August 2001.

Figure 4: Best track maximum sustained surface wind speed curve for Tropical Storm Barry, 2-7 August 2001, and the observations on which the best track curve is based. Aircraft observations have been adjusted for elevation using 90%, 80%, and 80% reduction factors for observations from 700 mb, 850 mb, and 1500 ft, respectively. Dropwindsonde observations include actual 10 m winds (sfc), as well as surface estimates derived from the mean wind over the lowest 150 m of the wind sounding (LLM), and from the sounding boundary layer mean (MBL).


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Last modified: 22-Apr-2002