If it reaches 39 mph winds, it will officially become tropical storm Barry and could escalate to a Category 1 hurricane by Friday late in the day. The storm blew sustained maximum winds of 30 mph on Thursday and is expected to land on the Louisiana or Texas coast on Saturday.
But even before it reaches tropical storm status, it will rain heavy rains over the Gulf of Mexico region, resulting in sudden floods that could raise the Mississippi to dangerous levels.
Southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the West Florida Panhandle, will be especially drenched on Thursday, said Brink.
Governors to residents: prepare and supply
As the tropical system grows stronger, regional leaders urge locals not to be caught off guard.
"Start preparing your property, supplies, lines of communication with family members," said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. "Start preparing yourself to know exactly where you need to go if you have to evacuate."
In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards said the state of emergency and asked residents to have an emergency plan for family and pets. About 10 to 15 inches of rain could fall within 24 hours between Friday and Saturday, he said.
"It will be a Louisiana event with coastal flooding and torrential rains that could affect every part of the state," he said. "Nobody should take this storm lightly.As is well known in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact."
New Orleans had a glimpse of the tropical system after triggering its first tornado warning and its sudden flooding emergency on Wednesday in the region. He dumped up to 9 inches of rain in parts of the city, flooding the streets, homes, and hotel lobbies.
Mississippi River in New Orleans a major concern
The slow-moving storm was crawling at 9 mph on Thursday morning, 125 km southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the National Hurricane Center announced.
This means that he could fly over the same place for a long time, spilling the rain relentlessly. A storm surge, hurricane winds and extensive floods are expected in the Gulf Coast region of the coast until the end of the week.
The potential storm surge prompted the National Weather Service to warn that the Mississippi River could reach a 20-foot ridge in New Orleans, or 1.3 feet below the record. The city is protected at a height of 20 feet.
The Southeast Louisiana flood protection authority has just over 250 flood gates, according to spokeswoman Antwan Harris.
Gas up – the storm system can affect oil prices
The impact of the storm surpasses floods and storm surges. If you have summer trips coming this weekend, you may want to refuel in advance.
If Tropical Storm Barry forms in the Gulf of Mexico, it will be the hub of many offshore oil rigs and gas operations. Offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf are evacuating their facilities. because of the tropical storm, said the Office of Safety and Environmental Protection in a statement.
Companies have already evacuated their employees from 15 production platforms and four platforms. Three of the 20 platforms operating in the Gulf have also moved away from the storm, he added.
Unlike rigs, which generally move from one location to another, production facilities remain in the same location for the duration of the project.
Shell and Chevron have evacuated non-essential personnel from some of their drilling rigs in the Gulf, officials said.
CNN's Holly Yan, Darran Simon, Madeline Holcombe, Joe Sutton and Christine Sever contributed to this report.