As Barry intensified into a hurricane on its three-day trek along the Gulf Coast, the storm moved at an excruciatingly slow pace – between three and nine miles per hour. The very slow motion allowed Barry to generate a larger storm surge and dump heavier rains than a faster-moving storm would have (most of those rains happened to fall offshore this time because of Barry's unusual structure). A study published in June in the scientific journal Nature by scientists from NASA and NOAA found that North Atlantic hurricanes like Barry have been stalling near the coast with increasing frequency in recent decades, resulting in an increase in dangerous heavy rainfall. The scientists found that stalling was the result not only of a storm’s slow movement, what they define as “translation,” but also by abrupt changes of direction. While the areas affected by Barry were spared the rainfall amounts and flooding initially predicted – what some forecasters have attributed to most of the rains falling offshore due to Barry’s unusual structure – the same could not be said in the cases of Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Florence (2018). Those storms, both studied in the NASA and NOAA report, stalled over areas of Texas and the Carolinas, respectively, and brought historic rainfalls and flooding. Read the report at Nature.
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