Disturbance in Gulf becomes Tropical Storm Barry

Louisiana braces for heavy rain

ORLANDO, Fla. – A potential tropical storm that could strengthen into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico presents twin troubles for parts of southeast Louisiana.

The disturbance in the northern Gulf, about 125 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm by Thursday night.

As of Thursday morning, the system had sustained winds of 30 mph and was moving west at 5 mph.

The weather system could contribute to the rising of an already high Mississippi River, with water reaching the tops of levees this weekend. And there is also the widespread danger of flash floods like the one that walloped New Orleans on Wednesday. Officials said that storm dumped as much as 8 inches in parts of the metro area in three hours.

Forecasters said Louisiana could see up to 12 inches of rain by Monday. Some areas could get 18 inches.

Mississippi and Texas are also at risk of torrential rains.

Central Florida forecast

The east coast of Florida remains in an area of a light south-southwesterly surface wind flow between an Atlantic high and the disturbance in the Gulf.

"This pattern will allow sea breeze storms to develop inland and gradually track toward the east coast Thursday," News 6 meteorologist Candace Campos said. "Storm coverage sits at 50 to 60% after 3 p.m."

Early evening showers and storms should dissipate a few hours after sunset. 

High temps will be around 90 degrees along the coast and the low 90s inland.

"We have one more day of high rain chances on Friday as that disturbance in the Gulf tracks well off to our west," Campos said.

By the weekend, rain chances will trend down to 30 to 40%.

Less rain and clouds, however, means warmer weather. Expect highs to top off in the mid-90s, with "feels-like" temperatures near the triple digits.

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