New Orleans is once again seeing unsafe flooding, this time thanks to a brewing tropical storm system which is gathering strength over the Gulf of Mexico and may soon make landfall as Hurricane Barry.
A potential tropical cyclone is not a tropical depression, which has a closed low-level center of circulation, or a tropical storm, which has a closed low-level circulation with sustained winds of at least 39 miles per hour.
The tropical system has already spawned its first tornado warning and flash flood emergency, both in the New Orleans area on Wednesday.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of tropical weather that could dump as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain in the state over the coming days.
The storm could drop up to 12 inches of rain along the Central Gulf Coast through next week, with up to 18 inches falling in some areas.
The strongest recent storm to make landfall in the United States in July was Hurricane Dennis, which hit the western Florida Panhandle on July 10, 2005, as a Category 3 hurricane, the Weather Channel said.
The National Weather Service said New Orleans is protected to a river level of 20 feet (6.1 meters), but it was forecast to rise above flood stage to 19 feet (5.8 meters) by Friday.
"Since there is a chance for the feature to move over open water, it is premature to say that the only threat will be from torrential rain", said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
As it stands right now rain looks to be the biggest impact to the area.
A forecast of landfall anywhere from Lake Charles to New Orleans has equal weight roughly 72 hours out this point.and even the Upper Texas Coast remains in play. In order to support a tropical storm or hurricane, sea surface temperatures need to be about 27ºC.
The NOAA now believes the storm could intensify to hurricane strength later this week.
"However we're confident that there will be widespread heavy rainfall and coastal flooding". PTC Two should form into a tropical depression soon. However, rich tropical moisture will continue to pump into our area and lead to more storms each afternoon until the storm system pushes off farther east.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November 30.
Hurricane season is here, and the second named storm system of the year is on a path to Louisiana's coast. Warm enough to support the strengthening of a tropical system.
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