Storm clouds move towards New Orleans, Louisiana from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana on July 11,2019. - Offcials in Plaquemines issued a mandatory evacuation order for the East Bank and parts of the West Bank according to local news reports as the area prepares for Tropical Storm Barry. At 2100 GMT Wednesday the storm system was 124 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.The storm packed sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers), still way below hurricane force of 74 miles per hour but on track to become a tropical storm by Thursday and a hurricane by Friday. It was expected to unload as much as a foot of rain over the Gulf coast through early next week, forecasters said.Local authorities also issued warnings to residents as the Mississippi River neared flood levels, rising to 16 feet (4.9 meters) in New Orleans as of 1300 GMT.

Storm clouds move towards New Orleans, Louisiana from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana on July 11,2019. - Offcials in Plaquemines issued a mandatory evacuation order for the East Bank and parts of the West Bank according to local news reports as the area prepares for Tropical Storm Barry. At 2100 GMT Wednesday the storm system was 124 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.The storm packed sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers), still way below hurricane force of 74 miles per hour but on track to become a tropical storm by Thursday and a hurricane by Friday. It was expected to unload as much as a foot of rain over the Gulf coast through early next week, forecasters said.Local authorities also issued warnings to residents as the Mississippi River neared flood levels, rising to 16 feet (4.9 meters) in New Orleans as of 1300 GMT. (Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. - Tropical Storm Barry is officially here.

Barry was located 150 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 200 miles southeast of Morgan City, La., the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT advisory Thursday. It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, just above the threshold for a tropical storm, and is moving west at 5 mph.

Tropical Storm Barry is expected to become a hurricane Friday, forecasters project.

"There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation along the coast of southern and southeastern Louisiana, where a storm-surge warning has been issued," the hurricane center said.

A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch have been issued for most of the Louisiana coast, with more watches and warnings possibly later Thursday.

The system's slow speed is expected to allow it to gain strength as it remains over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Sometime Friday, the system is expected to become the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season, according to forecasters.

"The slow movement of this system will result in a long-duration heavy rainfall threat along the central Gulf Coast and inland through the lower Mississippi Valley through the weekend and potentially into early next week," the hurricane center said. "Flash flooding and river flooding will become increasingly likely, some of which may be significant, especially along and east of the track of the system."

"Interests elsewhere along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system," meteorologists said.

Barry would follow Subtropical Storm Andrea as named storms this hurricane season, which began on June 1.

As for the forecast for Central Florida on Thursday, the high temperature is expected to be about 91 degrees, and there is a 50% chance of rain, according to Fox affiliate WOFL-Ch. 35.

While eyes remain on the Gulf, a second disturbance was detected in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa, NHC said.

A tropical wave several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing shower activity. There is a 10% chance of development over the next five days.

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

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