Grace on track to reach Gulf
By Crystal Stevenson
Tropical Depression Grace is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico later this week as a still-recovering and storm-weary Southwest Louisiana approaches the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Laura.
Grace was centered south of Puerto Rico Sunday morning as a tropical storm but weakened to a depression as it began its trek toward the Gulf.
“It’s way too early to determine where Grace will make landfall or how strong it will be,” Donald Jones, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office said. “There’s no need to freak out about Grace just yet. Any potential impacts to the region would not occur until next weekend.”
Jones said their office will be watching Grace’s movements over the next five to seven days.
“Computer-generated models showing death and destruction happen all the time so don’t pay any mind to that at this point,” Jones said. “It’s too soon to tell.”
Jones said an area of high pressure is moving to the east of the United States and that is what is steering Grace as well as a newly regenerated Tropical Storm Fred, which is expected to land somewhere between Mississippi and Florida today.
Jones said Grace was expected to further weaken as it enters the mountainous regions of Haiti and the Dominican Republic before passing Cuba and arriving in the Gulf.
“Assuming it makes a beeline for Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana it wouldn’t make it until next Saturday or Sunday at the earliest,” he said. “There’s a lot of time between here and there so anywhere along the Gulf Coast should monitor the situation and be ready for any potential impacts. Do not let anyone at this point tell you that Grace is going to impact us directly because it’s just way too early.”
Roger Erickson, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS-Lake Charles, said there is still a chance Grace could dissipate when it reaches the Gulf.
“If it survives, it could strengthen into a tropical storm as it moves west across the Gulf,” he said. “However, the forecast track has shifted further south, and it is still very uncertain if it will impact Texas or Louisiana.”