Tropical weather brewing in Gulf expected to bring heavy rain
A still-disorganized weather system meandering near the Bay of Campeche is expected to form into a tropical depression or storm in the western Gulf of Mexico over the next two days.
“It’s still a weak and disorganized system, that’s the good news,” said Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office. “The bad news is it’s still expected to begin moving north across the Gulf of Mexico probably by some time Thursday. We’re also expecting it to somewhat strengthen as it does so.”
Jones said the National Hurricane Center has given the system a 90 percent chance of development.
“Right now it looks as if it may head to Southwest or southeast Louisiana, but the biggest threat right now will be heavy rainfall and some gusty winds,” Jones said.
He said the development is moving about 5-10 mph and will take a couple of days to “limp across the Gulf.”
“If we see any impacts across our region, it’s probably not going to be until this weekend,” Jones said. “Saturday and Sunday look like the biggest threats for any kind of impacts we are going to see from this disturbance — perhaps some scattered showers late Friday evening.”
He said the system is expected to remain “relatively weak.”
“We’re not talking about a major hurricane at this point,” he said. “This is mainly going to be a major rainmaker. We’re not looking at anything on the order of Laura, so don’t freak out about that. We’re pretty confident that wherever it lands, it will only be a rain threat.”
Jones said the storm is “trying to get its act together,” but wind shear is preventing it from intensifying.
He said 1-5 inches of rain is expected when the development makes landfall, along with 25-30 mph wind gusts. This system could also contribute to coastal flooding in parts of Cameron and Vermilion parishes.
Should the development become a named storm, it will be called Claudette, Jones said.
He said a cold front is also heading this way and is expected to arrive late Sunday. Along with it, will be another string of rain showers.
Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office.