Hurricane forecasters this afternoon released the first forecast track for a potential tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and predict the storm will head northwest, making landfall in Texas or Louisiana.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from Intracoastal City, La. eastward to the mouth of the Pearl River at the Lousiana-Mississippi border. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from west of Intracoastal City to High Island, Texas.
Forecasters now say there’s an 80 percent chance that the system will strengthen into a tropical storm — which would likely be named Tropical Storm Cindy — within the next several days. Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach coastal areas within the warning area on Tuesday, with landfall taking place late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Florida and Alabama aren’t out of the woods, however; the National Weather Service in Mobile issued a bulletin Monday afternoon, saying that “significant weather impacts are expected across our region as all of the heavy weather will be well east of the [storm’s] center.”
Rain totals of 4 to 8 inches are possible, with locally higher totals of 10 plus inches possible closer to the coast, forecasters said. Dangerous surf conditions will develop on Tuesday and persist through Thursday, and a Flash Flood Warning is in effect from Tuesday through Thursday for much of the local area, including Mobile and Baldwin, and Escambia counties in Alabama and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties in Florida.
Double flag conditions have been declared for Walton County beaches, with officials closing the water to swimmers. Yellow flag conditions are in effect for Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa beaches.
Forecasters on Monday also said that Tropical Storm Bret has formed off the northern coast of South America. The storm is expected to move west-northwest, with Tropical Storm Warnings in effect for the islands of Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada and parts of the Venezuelan coast.