A weather system moving toward Louisiana officially became Tropical Storm Barry about 10 a.m. Thursday, and forecasters predicted Galveston County would escape the worst of its wrath.

“The odds are much better than they were yesterday,” said Wendy Wong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in League City. “There are still a few outliers here and there in the model data, but for the most part we are reasonably confident with the track having it go toward the central Louisiana coast.”

Forecasters for days had struggled to predict the storm’s path. It reached the Gulf on Wednesday morning via the Mississippi River Valley, rather than from the Atlantic Ocean, where most tropical disturbances form.

The disturbance also took some time forming a defined system — a development forecasters need to base models on.

But by Thursday, projections had most of the damage contained to Louisiana.

“Rain here will be very spotty,” Wong said. “It will be widely scattered.”

Any weekend rain probably won’t be enough to cancel or alter plans, Wong said.

Forecasts late Thursday had the storm becoming a Category 1 hurricane in the early morning hours of Saturday, shortly before making landfall.

The storm might eventually generate winds speeds of about 85 mph near its center, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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