Barry to bring several inches of rain


Published: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 1, 2007 at 5:29 p.m.

UPDATED 10:04 P.M. | The rain that began Friday night will likely continue Saturday and into Sunday if Tropical Storm Barry makes landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast and, as projected, heads toward northeast Florida Saturday afternoon.

But forecasters don't expect damaging winds to be a part of the equation.

"Right now we're not expecting much in the way of winds for our area," said Jason Deese, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. "The main wind impacts are going to be over coastal waters and the beaches."

Deese said that, as the storm approached Friday evening, it appeared winds in the Gainesville area would only reach 15 to 25 mph, with some higher gusts. The storm had sustained winds of about 50 mph Friday night and was moving north at about 12 mph, with a shift in direction toward the north-northeast expected overnight and into Saturday.

Rainfall was expected to range between 3 and 6 inches in the Gainesville area, with some isolated areas getting possibly as much as 10 inches as the storm moves through.

"Those will be very isolated, but if you get the right set-up with the rain bands coming in over the same area, it could get that high," Deese said.

Deese said Tropical Storm Barry was not expected to strengthen as it approached land, and once making landfall, forecasters expected a significant weakening in the system.

"The big thing to get across is we're not expecting it to be a major wind event by any means," he said.

Tornadoes are also a possibility as the storm comes ashore, and the Florida Department of Emergency Management said Friday night that isolated tornadoes were possible in the Florida Keys and along the Florida peninsula for much of Saturday.

"Any time you get a tropical system like this, you have a threat of tornadoes that goes along with it," Deese said.

To keep citizens alerted to updated information regarding Tropical Storm Barry, the Alachua County 3-1-1 emergency information line was being updated Friday with the current information on the storm.

Several weekend events may be disrupted by the storms moving through the area, and chairman Phil Denton said organizers of Yulee Railroad Days a festival with events Saturday stretching from Cedar Key to Fernandina Beach will do the best they can to hold whatever events are possible.

Denton added that in Archer, where the celebration was founded, they'd probably add an impromptu rain dance or a dance in the rain, anyway at the Archer train depot to make the most of things Saturday.

"We're continuing on at a reduced level, whatever that means," Denton said Friday evening. "We're taking it moment by moment."

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