Tropical Storm Warning: Up To 20 Inches Of Rain Expected For Gulf Coast


Tropical storm and spooky seascape

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A weather system moving toward the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday (June 17) is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Claudette, leading to warnings across several states.

USA TODAY AccuWeather senior meteorologist Rob Miller reports coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle could all be hit by heavy rains and flooding on Friday (June 18) and throughout the weekend.

According to Miller, parts of Louisiana could get as much as 20 inches of rainfall during the weekend.

"A hurricane is unlikely," Miller said, adding, "a mere tropical depression or tropical storm can unleash a tremendous amount of rain once over land, and that remains the primary concern."

USA TODAY reports the system "remained poorly organized" by nightfall Thursday as the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for southeast Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border.

AccuWeather meteorologists expect late Friday to Saturday to be timeframe in which landfall will most likely take place on the Louisiana coastline, however, landfall may occur anywhere near the Texas-Louisiana border to the western part of the Florida Panhandle, according to Miller.

The National Hurricane Center confirmed that an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is set to investigate the disturbance if needed.

"The low should begin to move northward by this afternoon, and a tropical or subtropical depression is likely to form by late tonight or on Friday," the hurricane center said via USA TODAY. "Regardless of development, a high risk of rip currents is expected by Friday, with the potential for very heavy rain, a few brief tornadoes, high surf and minor coastal flooding this weekend."

Forecasters are urging residents in the areas expected to be affected to not focus solely on the forecast point of landfall as storms could spread out to other areas.