Cristobal

Tropical Storm Cristobal is predicted to hit the Louisiana coast some time Sunday. It's maximum sustained winds are 60 mph, which means it could strengthen into a hurricane in the next 24 hours.

Louisiana and the Gulf Coast could be in the path of a hurricane early next week, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Donald Jones.

Jones, during a tropical weather update Tuesday, said that on the second day of the 2020 hurricane season, hurricane hunter aircraft were tracking Tropical Storm Cristobal, located at the time in the Bay of Campeche, off Mexico’s eastern coast. At around noon Tuesday, surface winds reached tropical storm force — 39 mph or above.

This is the earliest the third storm of a hurricane season has formed.

Jones said wind shear is fairly low, so the storm is expected to continue strengthening. Cristobal is expected to move north through the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, bringing it near the U.S. Gulf Coast anywhere from the Texas coast to the Florida Panhandle by Sunday or Monday.

Jones cautioned residents to not rely too heavily on any one model. “The forecast confidence in both the track and the intensity remains below normal,” he said. The system is weak and could possibly move back inland across parts of southern Mexico, significantly impacting the storm’s ability to intensify. “There are a lot of ‘what ifs’ with regard to the system,” said Jones.

He said, at this time, the biggest impacts to Southwest Louisiana remain heavy rainfall and high tides, late this weekend or early next week.

Jones said to expect afternoon showers as a result of daytime heating through the rest of the week.