Tropical storm watch imminent - likely Friday
The workweek should end in typical warm season fashion with some sun and isolated, afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Tropical Storm Cristobal continues to target the central Gulf Coast for a possible late weekend, or early next week landfall.
Today and Tonight: Your Thursday will be less active than Wednesday. After a high temperature in the upper 80s, isolated showers and thunderstorms will pop during the peak heating hours—especially south of I-12. Overnight, action will wane with lows in the low 70s.
Up Next: Friday will essentially be a duplicate of Thursday as attention shifts to Tropical Storm Cristobal. Saturday night through Monday, rain and wind can be expected over a portion of the central Gulf Coast, possibly including Louisiana and Mississippi. While specifics remain limited, there has been enough consistency in the forecast guidance to suggest that a tropical storm could make landfall in Louisiana. Especially for those with coastal property, now would be a good time to take precaution for elevated tides and wind. Through Tuesday morning, 2-6 inches of rain will be possible, but as we have seen repeatedly on the Gulf Coast, there tends to be a small spot or two with much higher amounts. For that reason, the National Weather Service has placed the entire area in a FLOOD WATCH until early next week.
The threat of heavy daily thunderstorms and Tropical Storm Cristobal has prompted a FLOOD WATCH for the local area. Rain rates and totals could be high through Tuesday. #LaWX #MsWX https://t.co/w4fFnBaSja— WBRZ Weather (@WBRZweather) June 3, 2020
The Tropics: As of Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Cristobal was producing 40mph winds and heavy rain over southeastern Mexico. Cristobal drifted further inland overnight and will become a tropical depression. The length of time spent over land will be critical to the health of this system. Should it jog a bit farther east before turning north and remain over the Yucatan Peninsula, weakening may continue through Friday. A quicker move to the north will allow the system to reemerge over water earlier and therefore strengthen more before approaching the Gulf Coast. It is worth noting that while warmer than average for the time of year, the Gulf of Mexico does not currently have deep, warm water so it is unlikely Cristobal will be able to strengthen far beyond tropical storm strength. Given the uncertainty on interactions with land and the overall organization of the storm, the extent of the impacts to Louisiana and Mississippi remain unclear. At this time, we should prepare for elevated seas and tides along coastlines, 2-6”+ of rain, and some gusty wind. The most likely timeframe for tropical storm conditions is Sunday and Monday.
Moisture may decrease slightly for Thursday and Friday, but an inverted trough of low pressure, tied to Tropical Storm Cristobal in the southern Gulf will maintain enough instability for typical daytime heating/marine breeze afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Coverage will range from isolated to scattered each day. Beyond that, the local weather will be highly dependent on the eventual evolution of Cristobal. As of now, the expectation is for this system to meander near the southeastern Mexican coast through Thursday. The subsequent track for the center of the storm ranges from approximately Houston, Texas to Pensacola, Florida. Obviously, that is a wide range of potential outcomes. Path will come into better focus once this system enters the Gulf of Mexico and the upper level steering currents begin to interact with it. An upper level ridge of high pressure near the Bahamas will be responsible for steering the storm north through the Gulf of Mexico. A secondary ridge over the Lower Midwest is beginning to look like less of a factor in driving the storm farther west. Regardless of where the storm makes landfall, tropical rain bands could create some flooding problems. The latest Weather Prediction Center 5-Day rain forecast through Monday calls for 2-6” of rain across southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. As we have learned though, isolated pockets with much higher amounts can occur from tropical downpours. In this case, one or two spots could see up to 10”. Please continue to check in for updates.
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