- A weather system evolving in the Gulf is expected to turn into a tropical storm by late Friday.
- Tropical storm warnings were in place for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
- Louisiana has declared a state of emergency where up to 20 inches of rain could fall this weekend.
Tropical Storm Claudette was expected to formon late Friday or early Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico and threatens heavy rainfall and flooding on the northern Gulf coast throughout the weekend.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the weather system is slated to invade several states, including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. Tropical storm warnings were in place for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
The system is expected to produce up to 12 inches of rain throughout the weekend along the central US Gulf Coast. It was located about 60 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana, at 10 p.m. CDT on Friday, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. It was moving north at 13 mph and would likely be approaching the north central Gulf coast by Friday evening or early Saturday, according to the hurricane center.
When the weather system reaches storm status it will be named Claudette, the third storm of the 2021 season that started this month.
Usually dry areas near the coast can be flooded by rising water. On the beaches in the affected areas near the Gulf Coast, there is a high risk of rip currents and high surf from Friday. Other potential weather threats can include brief tornadoes, minor coastal floods, and minimal tropical winds at speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour.
The weather system began as a broad depression in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and has produced widespread but disorganized showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Hurricane Center. There is a high chance it will become a tropical storm or depression by Saturday as it moves northeast through the southeastern United States. It is expected to weaken as it moves through the Gulf Coast states.
The storm is expected to approach the Louisiana coast on Friday night, where Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency. Louisiana, which was badly hit by heavy rain and flooding last month, can see up to 20 inches of rain in three days.
Edwards tweeted that the state emergency preparedness office has activated its crisis team and is ready to use state resources to support storm defense efforts.
In Florida, the Pensacola area prepares for heavy rains – up to 8 to 10 inches – between Friday and Saturday. The tropical system can create dangerous surfing conditions and flooding of roads and campsites, some of which have seen mandatory evacuations and cancellations. Strong winds can also push sand onto the roads, making them unsafe to travel.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast 13 to 20 named storms will develop this season. That number includes tropical storms that include wind speeds of 39 miles per hour or more. Storms turn into hurricanes when winds reach speeds of 120 km / h.
To prepare for a possible tropical storm, experts recommend refilling disaster kits to have medication and at least seven days of durable food and three liters of water for each person and pet. You can also prepare your garden by removing loose objects, removing loose and clogged gutters, and pruning trees and shrubs.
Contributors: The Associated Press; Diane Pantaleo and coworkers, Pensacola News Journal; Roberto Villalpando, Austin-American statesman; Doyle Rice and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY.
Contact News Reporter Christine Fernando now at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.