Tropical storm warnings issued for Gulf Coast states

Tropical storm warnings issued for Gulf Coast states

Tropical storm warnings issued for Gulf Coast states

A disturbance over the Bay of Campeche near Mexico is forecast to develop into a tropical or subtropical cyclone Thursday and Florida may possibly be in its path.

This system is traveling northeast, but its final destination is still a little unclear. That will mean the heaviest rain and strongest winds stay offshore. The latest computer model forecasts suggest that we could have either a tropical depression or a tropical storm in the western Gulf by later this week or this weekend.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday afternoon, if forecasters find it necessary.

As always, forecasts for developing systems are less certain than for well-organized tropical storms or hurricanes, so changes are certainly possible.

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Forecasters there noted that forecast models are varying in the eventual track and timing of the system - but as of early Thursday areas along the Florida Panhandle were looking most likely for landfall. The rain will certainly provide some much-needed drought relief.

Impacts in southeast Louisiana right now look to be mostly along the coast.

Small craft should consider remaining in port from Friday to Saturday over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, and during the day Saturday along the Atlantic coast from northeastern Florida to North Carolina. If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Nestor. This is a very favourable environment for tropical systems to develop before the later part of the season when temperatures eventually cool.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November 30.

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