New Orleans Floods as Gulf Coast Braces for Torrential Rains

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A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Residents along the Gulf Coast should begin bracing for heavy rainfall and a possible damaging storm surge as the formation of a tropical storm - the second named system of the Atlantic hurricane season - is increasingly looking like a certainty late this week. It was expected to grow into a powerful storm as it moved west through the Gulf's warm waters.

The Hurricane Center's forecast calls for Potential Tropical Cyclone Two to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning with 80-mile-per-hour winds before making landfall late Saturday or early Sunday in East Texas or Louisiana.

This could become a tropical depression as early as Wednesday.

New Orleans is once again seeing risky flooding, this time thanks to a brewing tropical storm system which is gathering strength over the Gulf of Mexico and may soon make landfall as Hurricane Barry.

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Hurricane Barry's path is forecast to hit New Orleans in Louisiana, where flash flooding caused half a foot of rain to fall on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the system is expected to approach the central U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.Maximum sustained winds are near 30 miles per hour (45 km/h) with higher gusts.

Forecasters expect a broad area of disturbed weather in the Gulf to become stronger this weekend when it threatens the region with torrential rain. A tornado or waterspout was also spotted near the University of New Orleans, WWL-TV said.

Regardless of the classification this system develops into, both Louisiana and MS are forecast to see very heavy rain - more than a foot in some places, Brink said. This could present an imminent possibility for disaster since the levees are only capable of protecting the city from surges up to 20 feet. PTC Two should form into a tropical depression soon. Most offshore oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are in the north-central and western portion of the basin. A majority of the Euro (see Fig. 2) and GFS (see Fig. 3) ensemble members show a projected landfall of a strong topical storm somewhere between the upper-Texas coast and Louisiana by the weekend. The rip current threat is a little lower, but it's always best to swim near a lifeguard.

A tropical storm watch for the mouth of the Mississippi River to Morgan City is also valid over the same time period. Today is the first day of several that scattered showers and storms will be the norm.

The unnamed system is spinning in the same general area where Hurricane Michael gained strength last October.

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