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Tropical Storm Claudette Brings Southeast Flash Flood Threat Into Weekend

The Weather Channel logoThe Weather Channel 6/19/2021 weather.com meteorologists
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Tropical Storm Claudette formed over Louisiana and continues to pose a threat of flooding rain across the Southeast this Father's Day weekend. This system could also contribute to coastal flooding, dangerous rip currents and gusty winds.

Tropical storm conditions continue in southeastern Louisiana and these winds will spread through the night along portions of the northern Gulf Coast and tropical storm warnings have been issued from east of Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Okaloosa/Walton county line. This warning includes New Orleans and Mobile.

Claudette formed early Saturday morning as it was moving through southern Louisiana.

The storm is now north of New Orleans and will gradually move northeastward while weakening.

Strong wind shear and generally drier air will persist over the storm this weekend.

Those factors will also keep most of the impacts from this system in areas near and well to the east of where its center tracks.

Rain and thunderstorms are spreading ashore along the northern Gulf Coast. Wind gusts of 40-55 mph have been reported along southeastern portions of Louisiana, including New Orleans, which recorded a wind gust of 43 mph on Friday evening.

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This system will trek through the Southeast over the weekend and is now expected to redevelop early next week off the mid-Atlantic coast where it will likely increase the threat of rip currents.

Here are the impacts we expect from this storm:

Forecast Impacts

Rainfall Flood Threat

Regardless of the exact track or strength of this system, we expect heavy rain along the northern Gulf Coast to spread into parts of the Deep South this weekend. This includes already soaked parts of Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley.

This system is lopsided, meaning the heaviest rainfall will be from near the center's path to the east of the storm.

The heaviest rain is expected from southeast Louisiana into parts of Mississippi, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and central Georgia. This is where the threat of flash flooding will be highest. Flood watches have been issued in this region.

Areas to the west of the center of the system may see much less rainfall, including parts of southwest Louisiana, due to the lopsided nature of this system.

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Some locally heavy rain could linger from Georgia into the Carolinas on Sunday, and possibly in the eastern Carolinas and Virginia Monday, as the inland remnant eventually picks up some forward speed.

Up to 15 inches of rainfall is possible in portions of the central Gulf Coast. Farther inland, rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are likely with up to 8 inches in some areas.

Coastal Threats

Modest coastal flooding will be another impact, especially in vulnerable areas, from Louisiana as far east as the Florida Panhandle late Friday into Saturday.

Peak inundation of 2 to 3 feet above normally dry ground is possible from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa-Walton County line in Florida, including Mobile Bay.

One to two feet of peak inundation is possible from Cameron to west of Morgan City, including Vermilion Bay, Louisiana, along Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, and from Panama City, Florida, west to the Okaloosa-Walton County line.

High surf and dangerous rip currents will also be concerns in this same general area during that time, and beachgoers are advised to stay out of the ocean.

Wind, Tornado Threats

Gusty winds will accompany this system on Saturday on the northern Gulf Coast and possibly into parts of the Deep South.

Even though wind gusts won't be overly strong, winds may more easily topple trees due to soaked soil from heavy rain. This may also lead to some scattered power outages near the northern Gulf Coast and into the Deep South.

There could be an isolated tornado threat through Saturday from southern Louisiana into southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia and the western Florida Panhandle.

June Gulf Storms

June storms in the Gulf of Mexico are fairly typical.

Since 2000, there have 16 named storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven of those made a U.S. landfall.

The most recent one was last year. Tropical Storm Cristobal formed from the remnant of eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Amanda, then made landfall in southeast Louisiana.

Other June Gulf storms were prolific flood producers, including Debby in 2012 in Florida and Allison's $9 billion flood in 2001 in Houston.

The last June Gulf hurricane was in 2010.

Hurricane Alex made a Category 2 landfall in northeast Mexico triggered massive flooding in Monterrey, Mexico, where up to 35 inches of rain fell.

June Gulf U.S. hurricane landfalls are extremely rare. The last one was Hurricane Bonnie, 35 years ago.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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