The National Weather Service in Lake Charles is keeping a close eye on the development of Invest 92L, a weather system over the eastern Gulf of Mexico that will be forming into a possible tropical storm or hurricane by this weekend.
According to the NWS, a broad low pressure area located over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., is already producing widespread cloudiness and disorganized showers and thunderstorms.
The first 5 day tracking map was released by the National Hurricane Center Wednesday morning and puts the storm traveling right over Southwest Louisiana Saturday night and Sunday morning.
New Orleans is already being inundated with torrential rains and is experiencing some flooding issues in advance of the system.
“Environmental conditions are conducive for development of this system, and a tropical depression is expected to form late today or Thursday while the low moves slowly westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico,” stated the NWS office in Lake Charles.
The National Hurricane Center is sending its fleet of storm planes and crews into the storm today beginning at noon and will be providing more information.
According to the NWS, this system could produce storm surge and tropical- storm- or hurricane-force winds across portions of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Upper Texas coasts later this week, and interests there should closely monitor its progress. In addition, this disturbance has the potential to produce very heavy rainfall from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle.
Forecasters say parts of Louisiana could see up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain by Monday, with heavier amounts possible in some spots.
Though much of the heaviest rain isn't expected until the weekend, the broad area of disturbed weather in the Gulf was already producing strong thunderstorms over Louisiana on Wednesday. Those storms prompted tornado and flash flood warnings Wednesday morning in the New Orleans area. The weather service said up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain had fallen in the area.
More updates are expected throughout the day.