Oil Producers Begin Evacuation From Gulf Of Mexico Platforms Ahead Of Storm

Fig. 1 NHC’s probability of development graphic

Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are all making preparations for heavy rain and possible flooding. It is important to stay updated on this storm's potential to gain tropical characteristics, and its forecast track that should be more defined later this evening. Showers and storms will develop around noon through 8pm. Once those thunderstorms start to rotate and organize around the centre of low pressure, the result may be a tropical cyclone (a class of storm systems that includes tropical depressions, storms, and hurricanes) at which point it would be named Barry.

"The greatest threat of severe to strong storms (on Thursday) looks like it's going to be a little further west", in eastern Pennsylvania, O'Brien said.

"The storm will sit over the Gulf of Mexico for a few days and may eventually become partially or fully tropical in nature during the time period from late this week into next weekend", said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty.

The storm could bring more heavy rain and flooding to New Orleans, which was inundated with up to half a foot of rain on Wednesday morning, triggering a flash flood emergency for the area. Ahead of that, a tropical storm watch and a storm surge watch have been issued for the coast.

Potential storm surge has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning for the Mississippi River, including at New Orleans, through Saturday. The city is protected to a height of 20 feet.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) urged people to "begin preparing as soon as possible" in the affected areas.

Even in lieu of a hurricane, sometimes tropical storms that are near the coast or make landfall can unleash sudden tornadoes. A majority of the Euro (see Fig. 2) and GFS (see Fig. 3) ensemble members show a projected landfall of a strong topical storm somewhere between the upper-Texas coast and Louisiana by the weekend.

While this type of storm is not tropical in origin, it can slowly spin down to the surface and initiate a tropical or sub-tropical storm. This part of the tropical season is known as the Cabo Verde season.

While hurricanes can form in near-coast areas of the United States, often the most powerful hurricanes are spawned in the Cabo Verde manner and can travel thousands of miles to the west and reach the Caribbean and North America.

BSEE said more than 600,000 barrels per day of Gulf oil production and 17% of the region's natural gas production was shut by producers. The agency has already posted a storm surge watch and a tropical storm watch in coastal areas of Louisiana.

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