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Hurricane watches spread as tropical system strengthens off Gulf Coast

Thursday, July 11th 2019, 3:53 am - Tropical storm brewing off Gulf Coast, likely to hit Louisiana as hurricane

While the system has yet to earn its name, what is expected to become the second tropical cyclone of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is now swirling over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane and storm surge watches were issued for parts of Louisiana on Wednesday as flooding began ahead of the storm, and the state declared a state of emergency as it began preparing for conditions to worsen.

"The storm system will likely produce storm surge, hurricane force winds," said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards at a news conference. "No one should take this storm lightly."

National Guard troops are already in place across the state.


STORM HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Expected to reach tropical storm strength Thursday, become hurricane Friday
  • Track suggests Texas/Louisiana border landfall
  • Flooding rain, storm surge greatest risks

Barry1

The storm, which will be named Barry, is expected to become a tropical depression or tropical storm later Thursday or on Friday, and could strengthen to a hurricane by the late hours on Friday, as reported by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

MAJOR IMPACT FROM RAIN, STORM SURGE

While winds will be a concern with the storm, the real threat is from water -- both in the form of flooding rains and storm surge. Water driving into the coast, along with more than 6 inches (150 mm) of rain in just a few hours, had already sparked flooding in New Orleans on Wednesday.

RELATED: How this weird storm may be 2019's next hurricane

WATCH BELOW: FLOODING WORSENS IN NEW ORLEANS AHEAD OF STORM

Water levels are expected to continue rising through the end of the week as the storm makes its way toward a western Louisiana/eastern Texas landfall. Depending on how fast the storm moves, some 300+ mm of rain are possible for parts of the coast over the next five days with the risk for as much as 500 mm in some isolated areas. That's in addition to as much as 6 feet (183 cm) of storm surge water.

"The whole area is in for a soaking, the worst of it on Saturday," said David Roth, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center.

Tropics Rainfall

Residents have been urged to stock up on emergency supplies, with some evacuations ordered in more vulnerable areas.

WILD: WILD: BACKYARD PLAY STRUCTURE IS ABSOLUTELY DEMOLISHED

With files from Reuters.

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