Residents along the Gulf Coast are keeping an eye on the weather as meteorologists have predicted that a tropical system entering the gulf this week could form into a tropical storm that could impact Southwest Louisiana over the weekend.
"The storm will sit over the Gulf of Mexico for a few days and may eventually become partially or fully tropical in nature during the time period from late this week into next weekend," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty.
The system could track along the northern Gulf of Mexico this week and bring thunderstorms to several states along the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center released this latest statement:
A broad low pressure system located over the eastern Florida Panhandle is producing disorganized shower activity. The low is forecast to move southward to southwestward and emerge over the
northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Once the system is over water, environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for tropical cyclone formation, and a tropical depression is likely to develop by late Wednesday or Thursday while the system moves westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico.
The system will have the potential to produce heavy rainfall in Southwest Louisiana this weekend. Some models have shown anywhere from 8 to 10 inches of rain possible for Southwest Louisiana and East Texas. The National Hurricane Center predicts there is an 80 percent chance of formation into a storm over the course of the next five days.
"Since there is a chance for the feature to move over open water, it is premature to say that the only threat will be from torrential rain," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
The latest trends in steering winds suggest more of drift toward the central and western Gulf of Mexico this weekend.
"There are a number of petroleum rigs and refineries along the central and western Gulf coast, and there may be considerable risk if this storm ramps up, develops to its full potential and travels in that direction," Sosnowski said.
Seas would turn dangerously rough for boaters and swimmers as the storm strengthens.
Regardless of development, the system may lead to multiple days of showers and thunderstorms that can spoil vacation and outdoor plans across the Southeast this week.