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Despite uncertainty Acadiana should still be ready for tropical weather

Posted at 6:39 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 11:22:33-04

Tropical Storm Cristobal has kept its center of circulation just offshore which has allowed it to strengthen over the last 24 hours, as of Wednesday morning was producing winds of 60 mph, and gusts up around 70 mph.

The satellite Wednesday morning continues to show flare up around the center, but a slow drift over central America will likely bump the storm back down to a tropical depression for a few days.

The National Hurricane Center has picked up on that southward drift and the current forecast track brings the storm over land for about a day, which could go a long way in preventing the system from reaching hurricane strength.

It should quickly be noted that forecasting a stalled system, especially over land, makes forecasting intensity down the line incredibly difficult as small little changes have big implications down the line.

We're still early in the forecast process to talk with much certainty about what Acadiana could be facing, we will be able to get a better idea once the storm starts moving north and into the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, I laid out a couple different scenarios that the storm could take based off the model data, and Wednesday those same models are looking closer together which could start to build some confidence.

The EURO model looks a little less intense Wednesday morning, and in fact seems to trend a little towards the GFS, as it brings a slightly weaker storm further east then it was initially hinting.

This would bring some of the strongest showers to our east from roughly Terrebonne Parish out to about Pensacola Beach, although showers would still be pretty prevalent for Acadiana.

An asymetrical storm, which is pretty typical for a June storm, would pose more of a flooding threat for the eastern half of the state with Acadiana sitting right on the edge of the most intense rain.

These numbers should be taken with a massive grain of salt, however, as tropical downpours can easily produce double those numbers in a short amount of time so these number will almost assuredly change.

There is value in seeing how those numbers change though so while it's important not to get too caught up with one particular model run it's a good idea to monitor how those models change over time.

Cristobal's strongest winds would also be found just to our east with 60-65 mph winds possible along the Louisiana/Mississippi border and Acadiana seeing 30-40 mph winds starting to pick up as early as Saturday afternoon.

Again this is based on the EURO solution so it should also be taken with a grain of salt as moving the center slightly east or west will in turn move those impacts around as well.

The GFS hasn't changed dramatically over the last 24 hours and continues to be the less intense of the two models, and with a track that closely resembles the EURO there's a little confidence building in the overall track.

While the track looks very similar the GFS produces a sloppier more widespread storm and continues it's trend of indicating a more prolonged event with impacts felt over a greater range.

A broader less compact storm would spread the impacts out over a greater area with rain totals of about 3-4" spread out over solid portion of the Gulf Coast with a few areas picking up closer to 10".

The GFS wind forecast looks similar to what the EURO is producing with slightly less intense wind around the center of circulation, although strong gusty wind will still impact Acadiana starting Saturday evening.

There's a long time between now and the weekend and the forecast will certainly change, there's still too much uncertainty to speak with a great deal of specifics when it comes to the potential impacts from this storm.

It can't be stressed enough that until Cristobal gets out into the open ocean there will remain a lot of uncertainty as being so close to land there will be a multitude of variables that will impact this storm.

The time to be prepared for a tropical system though has arrived and it would be a good idea to be reviewing your plan so that when we reach the time to act you'll be prepared.

Be sure to stick with KATC over the next several days to get the latest details.

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