(NEW YORK) – A tropical threat stirring in the Gulf of Mexico targets the Gulf Coast – and has formed into tropical Storm Claudette southwest of New Orleans.
The storm moves at 12 mph NNE with sustained winds at 45 mph and gusts at 60 mph. Tropical gale force winds extend 205 miles from the center.
Claudette is expected to move inland on Saturday morning and weaken by tonight and become a post-tropical system by Sunday.
Heavy rains and tropical storm winds will continue along the northern Gulf Coast today. Another 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected in the south, which could trigger flash floods.
Tropical storm warnings apply from New Orleans to Pensacola, including Gulfport, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama, where tropical storm conditions are expected through Saturday morning.
The heaviest rain will likely come east of New Orleans, Gulfport to Mobile, and through southern Alabama by Saturday morning. Up to 12 inches of rain is possible in some areas.
Flash flood monitors are in effect from New Orleans to Atlanta. If the storm moves inland, it will bring heavy rainfall to Atlanta and South Carolina through Sunday morning.
Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency. The governor warned that after the severe flooding last month, river levels are still high and drainage ditches are still full. Louisiana was particularly hard hit last hurricane season.
Meanwhile, an unprecedented record heat is still scorching the western half of the country from the Plains to California.
Palm Springs hit its all-time high of 123 degrees on Thursday.
Omaha reached 105 degrees – the first time since 1953 the city reached that temperature in June.
Excessive heat warnings and warnings will remain in effect from California to Illinois on Friday afternoons as temperatures continue to hit the triple digits. Further record highs are possible in Phoenix, Reno and Fresno, California on Friday.
The heat in the west could finally subside from Sunday to Monday.
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