New Orleans streets flood as Gulf Coast braces for potential hurricane

Fig. 4 Latest spaghetti plots

Fig. 4 Latest spaghetti plots

Residents along the Gulf Coast should begin bracing for heavy rainfall and a possible damaging storm surge as the formation of a tropical storm - the second named system of the Atlantic hurricane season - is increasingly looking like a certainty late this week.

John Bel Edwards warned that there could be "a considerable amount of overtopping" of levees in Plaquemines Parish, which is southeast of New Orleans and includes numerous city's suburbs. Strengthening is forecast during the next 72 hours, and the disturbance is forecast to become a tropical depression Thursday morning, a tropical storm Thursday night, and a hurricane on Friday.Shower and thunderstorm activity has gradually been increasing in coverage and organization, and the low is likely to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm in the next day or so.

A tropical storm watch for the mouth of the Mississippi River to Morgan City is also valid over the same time period.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that Tropical Storm Barry will develop into a hurricane on Saturday, The Washington Post reports.

It's then expected to hit the Gulf Coast as a hurricane on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

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The area of low pressure that we've been tracking for several days is beginning to organize, and will likely be designated a tropical depression before the end of the day Wednesday.

The storm is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Barry by Thursday as it moves over open water south of Louisiana.

The system will have the potential to produce heavy rainfall in Southwest Louisiana this weekend.

There are a few key players in the development of this potential tropical feature - now dubbed "Invest 92L" (short for "investigation area") by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The National Weather Service said New Orleans is protected to a river level of 6.1 metres, but it was forecast to rise above flood stage to 5.8 metres by Friday. As much as 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain could fall in isolated areas, forecasters said.

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Edwards said people can expect 10 to 15 inches of rain in a 24-hours span.

And an Upper Texas Coast landfall still keeps flooding rains and storm surge as significant risks for portions of the Acadiana area.

AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said that "right now, our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding".

A major hurricane in these areas could significantly impact production.

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