Unlike most hurricanes that affect the eastern and central U.S. Barry did not form in the Atlantic. Instead it formed apparently from a low that veered into the Gulf of Mexico from the continental U.S. This graphic shows the historical track of Barry:

enter image description here (I'm sorry, but I don't remember where I captured this image from.)

Once in the gulf, it picked up moisture and energy from the warm gulf waters and eventually became a hurricane, looped back around and appears to be headed back across its former track.

This image from the National Hurricane Center 1851 - 2016 shows the storm tracks from 1851 to 2016. While it's hard tell from all the lines, no hurricanes appear to have formed from an air mass originating in the continental U.S.

So just how rare was Barry? It seems to have been extremely rare.

  • $\begingroup$ There are enough pressure lows which start in the Atlantic and don't grow into full Hurricanes until they cross the Gulf. So, while the particular path of Barry was very unusual, the process of becoming a small hurricane when crossing the Gulf ain't that usual. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jul 15 '19 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ I can't answer the question, but surely in your second image the tracks only show the hurricanes from the point at which they become hurricanes? So the early part of Barry's journey woudln't show? $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Jul 15 '19 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @SemidiurnalSimon, I don't believe the yellow, green, and blue tracks indicate hurricanes, but rather tropical storm, tropical depression, and tropical disturbance. I'm guessing the red, pink, and orange indicate hurricanes. And it's my understanding that most hurricanes that originate as a hot air mass moving off the Sarah aren't, at that time, even a semi-organized low pressure center. $\endgroup$ – BillDOe Jul 16 '19 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ The caption of the figure says "Shown here: Cat 4 and 5 hurricane tracks". Maybe it includes them from when they first form, rather than when they become hurricanes, which case my previous concern isn't a worry, but even in that case it only shows that no Cat4/5 hurricanes originated over the US, not that no hurricanes did. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Jul 16 '19 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ The NHC page you link indicates what the colors are in their example image... blue is TD, green is TS, yellow is category 1 hurricane. So it's only once they were classified... and so this is the matching Barry track. Much less abnormal. $\endgroup$ – JeopardyTempest Oct 8 '20 at 12:32

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