(WFLA) – The Gulf Coast is bracing for the worst as Tropical Storm Harvey moves into the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Hurricane Center said Harvey is currently a tropical depression, but it could become a hurricane before it’s expected to hit Texas and Louisiana later this week.
“Tropical storm or even hurricane force winds are also possible along portions of the Texas coast, although it is too early to determine which areas could see these direct impacts,” the agency said on its website. “We are anticipating Harvey being a hurricane at landfall.”
Harvey, which passed through the Caribbean sea, reached tropical storm status last week, but weakened after encountering unfavorable environmental conditions, according to the NWSNHC. Now it’s expected to intensify.
“This system is likely to slow down once it reaches the coast, increasing the threat of a prolonged period of heavy rainfall and flooding across portions of Texas, Southwestern Louisiana, and northeastern Mexico into early next week,” said the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters say the storm could drop up to 20 inches of rain in affected areas. Heavy rainfall could begin as early as Friday morning and forecasters worry Harvey could bring life-threatening floods to the region.
Storm watches and warnings were issued for parts of the Texas coast. Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans said the city is considering possibilities that might force evacuations, but they’re still trying to determine a rainfall threshold that would prompt such a move. The city is still recovering from drainage crisis brought on by flooding earlier this month.
The Climate Prediction Center, a division of NOAA, predicts there will be a total of 14 to 19 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes, making 2017’s hurricane season the busiest hurricane season since 2010.
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