The Gulf coast of America should brace itself for heavy rains as a low pressure system heads towards it, with a 90 percent possibility of a tropical depression forming, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The system approaching the Gulf, called Invest 90L, is becoming better defined, and may bring heavy rains going into the Memorial Day weekend, forecasters say. With hurricane hunter aircraft set to fly over the Gulf early on Friday, weather experts are expecting better insight into what lays in wait for the Gulf, but there is a good chance that the coast will be hit with severe weather and a sub-tropical or tropical depression.
“The U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to fly into the disturbance this afternoon, according to the NHC. If they can find a solid, persistent area of surface low pressure with thunderstorms in close enough proximity, it’s conceivable the NHC could initiate advisories on either a subtropical or tropical depression or storm as soon as Friday afternoon.”
In case the depression turns into a full-blown storm, which would then become the first storm of the season, it will be named Alberto, ABC News reports.
Now a 90% chance that a tropical depression or tropical storm #alberto will form in the Gulf in the next 48 hours. #flwx #mswx #alwx #nola #lawx #tropics #storm #hurricane https://t.co/haD0hVle7w pic.twitter.com/c0IMECrEDY— Greg Dee (@GregDeeWeather) May 25, 2018
The center of the low pressure system currently is the Yucatan Peninsula, and by Saturday, it is expected to make a touchdown at the southern coast. Over Sunday and Monday, the system will slowly move northward toward southern Louisiana and will produce gusty winds and dump heavy rains over the Gulf states. Flood watches have already been issued from Alabama to Georgia.
The forecast predicts that the coast will receive 3-6 inches of rain, while the coastal Carolinas and southern Florida will get even more rain. Southern Alabama, Mississippi, and western Florida could see as much as one foot of rain, meaning flooding of those areas is almost certainly expected.
On Thursday, severe storms raged across Minnesota to Georgia, felling trees and destroying homes. On Friday, similar conditions are expected in the plains and all over the Midwest, with Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma all set to receive gusty winds and hail. Isolated tornadoes also remain possible in this weather.
Ultimately, the major worry over the next few days remains the probability of flash floods in the Southeast that could last well into the week. Slow-moving rainbands or clusters of thunderstorms will produce heavy rainfall over short periods — triggering flash floods particularly in urban areas, foothills, and mountains.
People living in the southeast must consider their Memorial Day plans accordingly, while those planning on visiting should check the forecast before they head out to any of the aforementioned areas.