The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida has posted Tropical Storm Warnings in advance for what is likely to become Tropical Storm Claudette in the Gulf of Mexico soon. Ahead of the tropical storm formation, the NHC is issuing advisories on the “potential tropical cyclone” which is forecast to bring extremely heavy rain and the threat of life-threatening floods to portions of the coast.
As of 7pm CT, the center of the potential cyclone was located near 23.3 N, 92.3W, which puts it about 455 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana. The system has a minimum central pressure of 1007 mb or 29.74″ and maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. The NHC expects the pressure to drop and winds to increase with time.
Due to the threats posed by this storm, the National Hurricane Center has a Tropical Storm Warning up from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Alabama / Florida border; a warning is also up for Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and the Metropolitan New Orleans area. A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
Right now, the system is moving toward the north near 9 mph and the NHC expects that this motion will continue with some increase in forward speed over the next day or so. On the forecast
track, the system will approach the north-central Gulf Coast late Friday or early Saturday. A northeastward motion across the southeastern United States is likely after landfall.
Many hazards will impact the coast as this system moves on shore: flooding rains, storm surge flooding, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes.
The system is expected to produce total rainfall of 3-6″ with isolated amounts of 8″ across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Rainfall totals of 4-8″ with isolated maximum amounts of 12″ are possible beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend from the Central Gulf coast northeastward into the Southern Appalachians. The NHC says this will likely produce areas of flash, urban, and small stream flooding as well as minor to isolated moderate river flooding with new and renewed rises on already elevated rivers.
The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could rise several feet above ground if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide. In Intracoastal City, LA to the Mississippi / Alabama border, a 2-3 foot storm surge is possible; the same is true for Vermilion Bay and Lake Borgne. Around Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, along with the area along the coast from Cameron, Louisiana to Intracoastal City, a 1-2 foot storm surge is possible. A 1-3 foot storm surge is possible from the Mississippi / Alabama border to the Alabama / Florida border, including Mobile Bay.
Tropical storm force wind conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area on Friday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous from that point on. The National Hurricane Center urges people in the storm’s path to wrap up their storm preparations prior to Friday morning.
Isolated tornadoes are always a possibility with a landfalling tropical cyclone. The threat for a couple tornadoes should begin Friday afternoon across coastal Louisiana. This threat should expand northward across southern portions of Louisiana and Mississippi, and southwest Alabama on Saturday.
Once the system reaches tropical storm status, it will be named Claudette.