ORLANDO, Fla. – An area of low pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near Florida, could become a named storm as early as later Wednesday.
As of early Wednesday, the system was about 100 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center said the low has a 100% chance of tropical development by Thursday. If the system develops into a tropical storm, it will be named Barry. Forecasters said that system will likely become Hurricane Barry by Sunday off the shores of Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center has designated the cluster of storms over the Gulf of Mexico as Potential Tropical Cyclone 2. The potential tropical cyclone designation is given by the NHC when an area of disturbed weather currently does not have tropical characteristics, but is expected to get them soon. This allows the NHC to put out their forecast cone and issues watches and warnings.
Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to fly into the weather system Wednesday.
Computer models show the system taking a westerly track toward the Texas-Louisiana coast.
The system has a chance of producing storm surge and intense winds across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The added moisture will also bring rain, and possibly outer bands, to Central Florida.
Watching an area in the tropics that could become our next named storm later today. Models are in agreement that this system will track towards the TX/LA coastline by the weekend. @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/IJRqUhhf3j— Candace Campos (@CandaceNews6) July 10, 2019
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of tropical weather that could dump as much as 15 inches of rain in the state over the coming days.
Edwards issued the declaration Wednesday afternoon. It came after storms from a weather system centered in the Gulf of Mexico dumped an estimated 4 to 7 inches of rain on metropolitan New Orleans in a span of three hours Wednesday morning, causing widespread flash flooding.
I probably don’t need those sandbags now.Posted by Carolyn Scofield on Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says officials are also gearing up for the storm.
Abbott said at a Wednesday news conference that Texas has mobilized several departments ahead of the growing storm's expected landfall.
The governor said that includes activating the Texas Task Force 1 with four high-water rescue boat squads ready and having nearly 700 Department of Public Safety officers on standby for possible deployment.
Forecasters say that system could become a tropical storm in the northern Gulf by Thursday night and a weak hurricane by Friday. In addition to dumping heavy rains throughout the state, the system could push up Mississippi River levels, possibly overtopping some levees on the lower part of the river.
Numerous showers and some thunderstorms with heavy rain are expected Wednesday in Central Florida.
A southwesterly wind flow will allow sea breeze storms to develop inland and slowly track toward the east coast through the evening.
Rain coverage sits at 60%, with highs maxing out in the low 90s. Overnight lows will be in the mid-70s.
Expect more of the same through the rest of the workweek.
Weekend rain chances dip to 40%, with highs near 93.
Watch News 6 for more weather news.