As a trough of low pressure has moved into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, strengthening is forecast by nearly all models. Reconnaissance aircraft are expected to investigate the area later today. If a tropical depression or tropical storm has formed, watches and warnings will go up immediately for much of the northern Gulf Coast. The National Hurricane Center says there's a 90% chance something will develop within the next two days.
At this time, models are in better agreement that this system will drift westward a couple of hundred miles offshore today and tomorrow. Waters are warm and wind shear is fairly low. These are two important factors needed for tropical development. The Euro model is still the most aggressive bringing a strong tropical storm or possibly a weak hurricane toward Acadiana or southwest Louisiana. The timing would bring a landfall sometime Saturday afternoon, but effects from the storm will start to be felt as early as Thursday. The GFS has similar timing and tracking of this system, but somewhat weaker. The GFS is suggesting a tropical depression up to a moderate tropical storm.
Either scenario would bring a heavy rain event for our area. Both models are suggesting 5-10 inches of widespread rainfall with some areas receiving more than a foot. The only part the models tend to disagree with is the area of where the heaviest rain will fall. The Euro is dropping the big rains over Acadiana, while the GFS puts down more rain east of our area.
For now, preparation is the key. Get ready for a very rainy weekend with flooding rains possible. Clean storm drains on your property, and along the streets. Make sure areas where water drains are clear of any debris and report any clogged ditches and coulees to city and parish workers. Stock up on sandbags if needed. Because this could also be a wind maker, the next couple of days you're advised to bring in any loose items, such as patio furniture, plants, trash cans, and anything else that could be carried by the wind and cause damage. Trim back tree branches that might be touching your home. Stock up on important items you'll need between now and the end of the weekend. This storm won't likely bring evacuations, but if floodwaters threaten, it's best to have an escape plan, especially if you're in an area prone to flooding.