AccuWeather is forecasting a Local Storm Max™ of 24 inches of rain from a developing tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico between Friday and Monday. THat rainfall may impact anywhere from New Orleans to Houston, causing CATASTROPHIC FLOODING.
Formation of a "home brew" tropical storm is anticipated as a growing mass of drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms over the northern Gulf of Mexico is forecast to congeal as the week progresses.
Non-tropical storms that originate over the U.S. mainland and then develop just offshore over the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic into tropical systems are often referred to by meteorologists as "home brew" tropical storms.
"AccuWeather meteorologists believe this system will become a tropical depression on or before Thursday and Tropical Storm Barry by Friday," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
There is an 90 percent chance that the system becomes a named tropical system in the next five days, AccuWeather meteorologists predict.
Officials in New Orleans are monitoring for any potential storm surge impacts on the Mississippi River.
"The city is protected to a project height of 20 feet. There is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding potential impacts, so please continue to monitor the forecast over the next several days for the latest information," the National Weather Service in New Orleans said in a tweet.
"We expect the budding tropical system to drift southwestward over the northern Gulf of Mexico into Wednesday night then take a more westerly track on Thursday," Kottlowski said.
This track takes the feature far enough away from the coast to allow for organization and strengthening. Wind shear is low over this portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
"Barry could become a strong tropical storm or perhaps even a hurricane, depending on how long the system remains over the warm water," Kottlowski said.
Water temperatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico are in the middle to upper 80s Fahrenheit.
"Right now, our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding," Kottlowski said.
Given the westward, slow-moving nature of the storm, a general 2-8 inches of rain is likely from the Florida Panhandle to the upper part of the Texas coast.
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