NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The strong tropical disturbance in the Southern Gulf of Mexico is expected to become a tropical depression or storm overnight or on Tuesday as it moves in the general direction of the Texas and Louisiana coastlines.
Monday at 10 p.m. Central, the disturbance was centered near latitude 24.4 north, longitude 89.5 west. The system is moving toward the north-northwest near 8 mph. A turn toward the northwest should occur by Tuesday morning, and that motion is expected to continue into Wednesday.
On the forecast track, the disturbance is expected to be near the Louisiana coast on Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is possible before the system reaches the coast. Upper-level winds are expected to be marginally conducive for some additional development during the next day or two, and a tropical or subtropical cyclone is likely to form during that time.
Formation chance through 48 hours is 80 percent. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles to the north and east of the center.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the entire SE Louisiana coastline. The biggest threat to our region is the potential for heavy rain. A flash flood watch is in effect until Thursday. Widespread rain totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible with some areas receiving in excess of 10 inches.
Coastal flooding from high tides and storm surge will also be possible outside the risk reduction system.
Satellite analysis shows strong sheer continuing over the Gulf of Mexico, which would diminish the chances for a strong storm. As an upper-level trough moves east, it is possible the moisture associated with any development would interact and be pulled slightly east as well. Another scenario is that it misses the influence of the trough, and it continues drifting northwest. Scenario 1 would decrease our rain chances, but Scenario 2 would greatly increase them.
The second named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has formed off the coast of Venezuela.
What was 92L east of the Lesser Antilles has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Bret as of 4 p.m. Monday. Tropical Storm Warnings are now in effect for the island nation of Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It will continue to move northeast over the next several days. Hurricane Hunters are also scheduled to investigate this system on Monday.
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