It’s been a little over six years since Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans causing storm surges that eventually led to approximately 80% of the city flooded and the deaths of nearly 1,500 people.
Although the lasting affects of Katrina are still being felt today, the city may need to brace for another disaster, Tropical Storm Lee, which is inching its way northward up the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico and is expected to creep up on the coast of southern Louisiana this weekend.
In its 8pm update, the National Hurricane Center stated that Lee was located about 170 miles southeast of Cameron, La., or 180 miles west southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River, heading north at 3 miles an hour.
While the storm’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 45 mph earlier today, it isn’t expected to make landfall until Sunday (Sept. 4), according to the Miami-based center’s forecast.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal warned residents that torrential rains, substantial winds and tidal surges from the Gulf of Mexico could produce flash flooding in parts of New Orleans throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend.
“Get ready for the wind, get ready for the rain,” Jindal said. “It’s coming and it’s going to be here for a while.”
While experts say that Lee only has a 50% – 60% chance of reaching hurricane strength, it’s the storm’s speed that has them concerned.
“The problem with this system is that it’s so slow-moving,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno explained. “The big story is going to be the flooding.”
Predictions by the NHC estimate the storm could produce rainfall accumulations of 10-15 inches over southern Louisiana through Sunday, with isolated amounts reaching up to 20 inches.