TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for parts of the United States Gulf Coast in anticipation of a potential tropical cyclone.
Claudette, the third named storm of the season, is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday night or Friday morning.
In a Thursday evening update, the National Hurricane Center announced a tropical storm warning for the Gulf Coast from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
The area of low pressure that’s expected to become Claudette has spent several days meandering in the area of the Bay of Campeche but is slowly getting organized. The National Hurricane Center has been monitoring the system and still gives it a high chance of development, 90% over the next two and five days.
As of 11 p.m. ET, the disturbance had maximum sustained winds of near 30 mph with higher gusts. Strengthening is expected Thursday night into Friday but even as it moves through the Gulf and becomes more organized, it will likely stay a weaker system before it moves ashore in the northern Gulf Coast.
According to the NHC, the disturbance will likely approach the north-central Gulf Coast late Friday or early Saturday then move northeast across the southeastern United States.
Tropical moisture is expected to accompany the system as it moves ashore. The main hazards with this system will likely be flash flooding concerns in impacted areas.
“Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend from the Central Gulf coast northeastward into the Southern Appalachians,” the latest NHC advisory said. “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.”
Wind impacts will be minimal as the developing system is not expected to be a strong storm. As with any landfalling tropical system, there will be a low threat threat for an isolated tornado to spin up as well as waterspouts moving ashore in the stronger rain bands.