Much of the Gulf Coast is on alert as a potential hurricane is expected to make landfall this weekend, bringing potentially destructive winds and a chance of severe flooding.
The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on "Potential Tropical Cyclone Two". The disturbance isn't officially organized yet, but the NHC expects it will be soon and has issued a projected path and tropical weather alerts. This comes in anticipation of what is expected to be the first tropical system to make landfall in the U.S. this year.
Potential Tropical Cyclone Two is forecasted to become a Tropical Depression on Thursday and strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall somewhere in Louisiana or Texas this weekend. The disturbance could make landfall as early as Saturday morning or as late as Sunday, according to the NHC's Wednesday morning forecast.
The storm is still in the early developmental stages which means both the future location as well as the future strength forecasts will likely change in the upcoming days.
The storm hasn't established a definitive center of circulation yet - in other words, we can't pinpoint exactly where the storm is right now. The surface circulation is farther north than the circulation found in the mid levels of the atmosphere, and until the two stack on top of each other, it's particularly challenging for forecasters to get a handle on where this storm will end up. The storm will be slow to intensify until it can become better organized, which is expected to occur on Friday.
What We Know
This disturbance will bring very heavy rainfall to parts of the Western Gulf coast this weekend and could create major travel disruptions in that part of the country. Tropical Storm Watches and Storm Surge Watches have been posted for coastal Louisiana. Conditions are expected to deteriorate there in the next 48 hours and winds sustained over 39 mph are possible.
This system is not expected to have an impact on the Midlands, but we should continue to keep an eye on this situation and remain prepared for Hurricane Season, which typically starts to ramp up in August.