Louisiana Will Get Some Stormy Weather As A Tropical Depression Passes By In The Gulf

Jul 21, 2020

Thursday, July 23

A weather disturbance tracking over the Gulf of Mexico has strengthened into a tropical depression.

Tropical Depression Eight was located in the central Gulf Thursday morning and is heading west toward the coast of Texas. It’s expected to strengthen further into a tropical storm sometime Friday, before making landfall on the south-central coast of Texas sometime Saturday, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

If the depression strengthens into a tropical storm it will be named Hanna.

A swath of the Gulf Coast is expected to get anywhere from three to five inches through Monday due to the presence of the Tropical Depression, according to the National Weather Service. Some areas could see up to 8 inches
Credit National Weather Service

Regardless of where the storm eventually makes landfall, it’s still expected to impact Louisiana, The main threats will be gusty winds, lightning and the possibility of locally heavy rain over the next several days, according to the National Weather Service. Areas from southeast Louisiana to south Texas could see three to five inches of rain through Monday, with some places seeing up to 8 inches.

Tips and information about how to prepare for hurricane season can be found at getagameplan.org.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo

Yesterday, Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed deep in the central Atlantic Ocean, well off the coast of South America. That marks the earliest in hurricane season that a storm named with a “G” has formed, according to reporting from NPR.

Experts from Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have forecast above-average hurricane seasons for the Atlantic this year, in large part due to higher ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. Warm temperatures are one of the things that fuels hurricane activity.

Wednesday, July 22

A tropical depression is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico “during the next day or two,” according to a National Hurricane Center update Wednesday afternoon.

The storm system is currently on track to make landfall on the Texas coast, but Louisiana is still expected to feel it.

According to the National Weather Service, the main concerns for Louisiana are the possibility of heavy rainfall, wind gusts during storms up to 45 mph, and elevated tides for coastal areas that typically see flooding when the wind is extra gusty.

Most of those impacts are expected to arrive Thursday and last through Friday.

In a statement, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Director Jim Waskom urged residents to keep an eye on the system as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico.

“While the forecast tracks continue to indicate a Texas landfall, any tropical system in the gulf could potentially result in dangerous weather conditions in Louisiana,” Waskom said.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system “this afternoon.”

Given that we’re getting deeper into hurricane season, GOHSEP encourages residents to finalize their evacuation and emergency communication plans.

As a reminder, these are the emergency supplies GOHSEP recommends everyone should have on hand during hurricane season:

  • A three- to five-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil
  • A supply of face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes due to COVID-19 concerns
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person
  • A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
  • An extra pair of glasses
  • Important family documents in a portable, waterproof container
  • Mess kits, paper cups and plates, plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and water

Tuesday, July 21

A weather disturbance moving into the Gulf of Mexico this week has a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next five days, the National Weather Service said this morning.

The disturbance is currently located over Cuba and expected to move into the Gulf later today. Regardless of whether it turns into a tropical depression or tropical storm, the system is expected to bring rainfall to south Louisiana Wednesday through Friday, plus above-average tides to coastal areas.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, City of New Orleans Director of Communications Beau Tidwell said city, state, and local officials were monitoring the disturbance.

"It is New Orleans in July so of course we're watching closely," he said.

Tidwell said officials believe there's a low to medium chance of it turning into "some kind of a tropical system," and that New Orleans would likely feel the impacts sometime around Thursday.

"Right now we're not anticipating a termendous amount of rain, but as we always know that can change."

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system later today “if necessary,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

A second disturbance located far into the Atlantic Ocean between the west coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles has a 60 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression within the next two days. But by the weekend, forecasters said, that system should be weakened by “less favorable conditions.”

Should either of those disturbances strengthen into named storms, the next two names will be Gonzalo and Hanna.

Earlier this month, researchers at Colorado State University released an updated 2020 hurricane season outlook that predicted 20 named storms. A typical hurricane season has about 12 named storms.

Both Colorado State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will update their 2020 hurricane season outlook in the beginning of August.

Tips and information about how to prepare for hurricane season can be found at getagameplan.org.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.