FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Forecasters expect Claudette to soon form over the Gulf of Mexico, setting up the potential for flooding in parts of the northern U.S Gulf Coast that could include the Florida Panhandle.
Tropical Storm Claudette is expected to develop Thursday or Friday from a large trough of low pressure currently nestled in the Bay of Campeche off Mexico’s east coast. The system is expected to stay put on Wednesday and then track across the western Gulf toward the U.S.
“Wind shear is likely to be a constant negative impact on development as the system tries to move northward later this week,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Though Claudette is expected to be a weak tropical storm, the flood threat remains regardless of the storm’s intensity, Kottlowski explained.
It is possible that a foot or more of rain to fall could fall in some areas, with 3-6 inches estimated along and inland of the central Gulf coast, according to AccuWeather. The rain could begin as early as Friday across parts of Galveston Bay and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
“Flooding remains the main concern,” Kottlowski said.
The system has a 70% chance of formation in the next couple of days and a 90% chance in the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former Tropical Storm Bill was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone late Tuesday. The system is expected to continue to weaken and dissipate over the open waters of the north Atlantic Wednesday.
Forecasters had also been watching a tropical wave that formed Monday off the coast of Africa. By Tuesday night, the hurricane center said showers and thunderstorms associated with the tropical wave diminished, and its chance of developing over the next two to five days dropped to 0%.
After Claudette, the next named storm to form would be Danny.©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.