TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Southwest Georgia does not face a direct impact from Tropical Storm Barry, but meteorologists are recommending that residents use the opportunity to prepare for any future storms this hurricane season.

"The precautions that people should be making are just for hurricane season in general, and this is a good reminder of that," said Lance Franck, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida. "Hurricane season goes until November 30 and it's important to have plans in place and supplies in place in the event of a storm."

Impacts from Barry are expected to be minimal in the area.

Residents should expect above-average levels of rainfall with chances of showers and thunderstorms each day for the rest of the week, but there's little chance of major flooding or heavy wind.

That doesn't mean people should let their guards down, forecasters said.

"It's a good reminder that we're in hurricane season and that you need to be prepared, not for this system in particular, but for any potential future system," Franck said.

A Thursday morning advisory from the National Hurricane Center upgraded Barry in status to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph.

The storm is currently moving in a general westward direction across the Gulf of Mexico at a speed of around 5 mph.

Forecasts show Barry turning northwest before making landfall along the central or southeastern coast of Louisiana late Friday or early Saturday, likely as a Category 1 hurricane.

The storm that is now named Barry began as a complex of showers and thunderstorms in western Kentucky last Sunday and was gradually steered southeast into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where conditions were favorable for it to increase in intensity.

Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories on the development of a potential tropical cyclone Wednesday morning.

After some gradual strengthening, Barry was upgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning, and is expected to continue increasing in strength before making landfall along the north central Gulf coast.