(NOAA)

Tropical Storm Cristobal Bringing High Winds, Dangerous Storm Surge to Louisiana

Tropical Storm Cristobal began lashing the Gulf Coast with winds this afternoon as it barreled toward Louisiana.

A Storm Surge Warning was in effect for the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs Mississippi and Lake Borgne. A Storm Surge Watch was in effect for east of Morgan City Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Intracoastal City Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County Florida line and Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

At 4 p.m. Central time, the center of Tropical Storm Cristobal was located near latitude 29.1 North, longitude 89.9 West, according to the National Hurricane Center. Cristobal is moving toward the north near 7 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue this afternoon, followed by a gradual turn toward the north-northwest later this evening and tonight. On the forecast track, the center of Cristobal will approach the northern Gulf of Mexico coast this afternoon, then move inland across southeastern Louisiana this afternoon through Monday morning, and northward across Arkansas and Missouri Monday afternoon into Tuesday.

Data from NOAA Doppler weather radars and offshore oil platforms indicate that maximum sustained winds remain 50 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast before landfall. Gradual weakening will begin once Cristobal moves inland.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles from the center. During the past couple of hours, an oil rig located about 80 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, measured a sustained wind of 51 mph (82 km/h) and a gust to 64 mph (103 km/h) at an elevation of 123 ft. A NOAA automated observing station on Dauphin Island, Alabama, recently reported a sustained wind of 42 mph (68 km/h) and a gust to 48 mph (77 km/h), and a Weatherflow site on Ship Island, Mississippi, observed a sustained wind of 41 mph (66 km/h) and a gust to 51 mph (77 km/h).

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Cristobal is expected to produce storm total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across portions of the central to eastern Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley, with isolated amounts to 12 inches. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with local amounts to 6 inches are expected across portions of the Mid to Upper Mississippi Valley and Northern Plains near and in advance of Cristobal. This rainfall will likely lead to flash flooding and widespread flooding on smaller streams across portions of the central Gulf Coast into the Lower Mississippi Valley. New and renewed significant river flooding is possible along the central Gulf Coast and into the Mississippi Valley.

A few tornadoes are possible today and tonight across eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and northern Florida.

Read more at the National Hurricane Center

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