Tropical update: Barbara went from a Tropical Storm early yesterday to a Hurricane by the evening. Based on the latest report from the National Hurricane Center at 11:00 p.m. Hawaii time on July 1 (5:00 a.m. Eastern time on July 2), Barbara’s center was located about 2,000 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, Hawaii, with maximum winds of 110 mph. This puts the hurricane at Category 2 strength, and Barbara is forecast to become a Category 3 storm (winds of 111-129 mph) sometime today as it moves closer to the central Pacific. Barbara is no threat to anyone on land right now, but ocean freighters will have to steer clear.
Flooding update: Water levels along the Mississippi River and its tributaries are receding in many areas. Barge movement on the Mississippi is improving, but still remains sluggish, despite all locks reopening on the upper Mississippi. After being closed for weeks, locks are back open in the St. Louis area except for the Costello Lock and Dam, about 40 miles south of the city in Modoc, Illinois.
Another stormy day in the Plains: Showers and thunderstorms will once again be scattered from the Rockies to the East Coast. The focus for severe storms producing large hail, damaging winds, localized flooding and/or isolated tornadoes today/tonight is from southern Montana to eastern Wyoming and the Dakotas. Drivers may have to slow down at times on I-90 and I-94 from Butte and Billings to Bismarck and Fargo, as well as from Sheridan to Rapid City to Aberdeen. A few severe storms could also pop up from Omaha and Des Moines to Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and Philadelphia.