NEW ORLEANS — 10 p.m. Wednesday update: The tropical disturbance in the Gulf is almost a depression. It is forecast to become a depression overnight or early Thursday. It may get organized overnight or early Thursday. It is currently over Gulf waters 120 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is moving west-southwest at 9 mph.
Forecasters say the tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico could strengthen to become Hurricane Barry before making landfall along the Louisiana coast this weekend.
National Hurricane Center says the system, still being designated as “Potential Tropical Cyclone Two,” is expected to strengthen and become a tropical depression late tonight or Thursday morning. The storm will continue to strengthen into a tropical storm Thursday afternoon and a hurricane on Friday or Saturday before a possible landfall in southwest or south-central Louisiana.
Hurricane watches are now in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Cameron, Louisiana. A storm surge watch is also in effect for most of the Southshore Parishes from St. Charles to St. Bernard southward, including the city of New Orleans.
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The ‘cone of uncertainty’ stretches from the Galveston, Texas area to just west of New Orleans, and includes the River parishes and some of the Northshore.
What should you do to prepare if a strong storm does come our way? The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) says to check your emergency supplies, see if you have enough food and water and to make sure you have a plan for your family and your pets.
You can download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at www.getagameplan.org.
2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 9-15 named storms for the 2019 hurricane season. It says four to eight of them will become hurricanes and two to four of those would become major hurricanes with 111 mph winds or higher.
Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season predictions, is forecasting 13 named storms, five to become hurricanes and two to hit major status. Hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach predicted that overall the Atlantic season will be about three-quarters strong as a normal season.
The Atlantic basin averages 12 named storms a year, with six becoming hurricanes and three becoming major storms.