Parts of northern Gulf Coast could see 10-15 inches of rain
The GOES satellite water vapor image of the tropical atlantic region shows Tropical Storm Katia, still far out at sea, and Tropical Depression 14 building in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Summit Voice
Another GOES satellite image shows Tropical Storm Katia churning in the southern Atlantic, just at line between night and day.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Flying into the cluster of thunderstorms in the northern Gulf of Mexico helped hurricane forecasters determine that the low pressure has now developed a closed circulation that is defined enough to be classified as Tropical Depression 13. Winds are still light in the central part of the depression, but a high pressure is forecast to build in the area, enabling the depression to strengthen gradually in the next 24 to 48 hours, possibly becoming Tropical Storm Lee sometime Friday.
Forecast models are in disagreement as to how much the disturbance will strengthen, but some projections show the depression reaching tropical storm strength in the next few days. The storm is moving slowly and is forecast to drop heavy rains on parts of the Gulf Coast. But since the movement of the storm is not well-defined, it’s not clear where the heaviest precipitation will occur. Generally, the stormy weather will move north and make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast, but that might not happen until early next week.
For now, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Pascagoula, Mississippi to Sabine Pass, Texas, with gusty winds, high surf expected in the area — and a lot of rain. According to the National Hurricane Center 10 to 15 inches of rain could fall over parts of southern Louisiana, with some spots picking up as much as 20 inches.
Winds are forecast to strengthen to 45 mph in the next 24 hours and reach as high as 60 mph in 48 hours, just before making landfall. If it reaches tropical storm strength, it would be called Lee, the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, although there is another disturbance north of Bermuda that could also become a tropical storm in the next few days.
A storm surge is expected to raise water levels by one to three feet above ground level in areas of onshore flow. As a result, officials in New Orleans are taking precautions by trying to drain some low-lying areas.
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment | Tagged: Atlantic hurricane season 2011, National Hurricane Center, tropical cyclones Atlantic, Tropical Depression 13, tropical storm Gulf of Mexico, tropical storm Lee | Leave a Comment »