Gulf storm approaches USA coast

Fig. 2 Euro ensembles track & intensity

The low is forecast to slowly intensify through and by Wednesday night or Thursday morning, we should have a tropical depression on our hands. "An Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the disturbance tomorrow afternoon", the National Hurricane Service said.

"Tropical Storm, Hurricane, and Storm Surge Watches could be required for a portion of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday".

The system will have the potential to produce heavy rainfall in Southwest Louisiana this weekend.

The National Weather Service said New Orleans is protected to a river level of 6.1 metres, but it was forecast to rise above flood stage to 5.8 metres by Friday.

Regardless of the disturbance's status, it is still likely to bring heavy rain from the upper Texas coast to the Florida panhandle.

The likelihood of a tropical system is still high in the northern Gulf of Mexico through the rest of the week.

Even those areas not directly impacted, including areas of Alabama and Florida, as well as more inland areas of Louisiana and Texas, should be prepared for several inches of rain.

It isn't clear yet exactly where the storm will hit, Brink said, but models show it making landfall somewhere between Lake Charles, Louisiana and Mobile sometime Saturday.

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There are a few key players in the development of this potential tropical feature - now dubbed "Invest 92L" (short for "investigation area") by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The system's motion - skimming right along the coast - also raises concerns for storm surge for parts of the Gulf Coast, particularly in vulnerable locations like New Orleans.

A tropical depression, tropical storm or minimal hurricane is likely to have little to no impact on operations of offshore oil and gas rigs.

The latest trends in steering winds suggest more of drift toward the central and western Gulf of Mexico this weekend. The first named storm of the year was Subtropical Storm Andrea, which developed south of Bermuda on May 20 - before the official start of hurricane season - and weakened before posing any threat to land.

Kottlowski has been warning since early April that the Gulf of Mexico, as well as areas east of Bermuda and off the southeastern coast of the United States, need to be watched closely for early season development due to water temperatures running above normal.

A tropical storm is an area of thunderstorms that produces a circular wind flow with winds from 39 to 73 miles per hour.

The unnamed system is spinning in the same general area where Hurricane Michael gained strength last October.

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