TROPICAL DEPRESSION #13 / TROPICAL STORM LEE – An Initial Look
Over the past 12 or so hours, the incredibly large and slow moving bunch of storms in the Gulf of Mexico has official developed into TROPICAL DEPRESSION #13.
Yeah, I know. Really scary. Ooooooooooh!
Take note that TROPICAL DEPRESSION #13 is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm and will be TROPICAL STORM LEE at some point on Friday. Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph (a tropical storm has 39-73 mph winds), and the minimum central pressure is 1007 mb.
As of right now the tropical cyclone is still 225 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It’s generally believed that the storm is slowly drifting to the northwest at around 2 miles per hour, though it’s hard to tell without an exact center to the cyclone.
TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS are in effect from Sabine Pass, Texas eastward to Pascagoula, Mississippi. This warning includes Lake Pontchartrain and the city of New Orleans.
What makes this particular tropical cyclone so interesting is that in addition to its incredibly slow motion, there’s an incredibly wide area of uncertainty as to where exactly this storm is heading in the next few days. The computer models are in agreement through Friday evening, but after that there’s a wide spread of projected paths.
According to the discussion at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, the tropical depression is still in its development stage and the center of rotation could reform in the next 12-24 hours. In addition, a weakening upper-level ridge is moving eastward and this will, in a few days, allow the tropical cyclone to slowly move to the north and then northeast.
What is known is that this is a very large and very slow moving system. The southern areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle WILL be completely drenched and experience flooding. If the system moves far enough northeast, those of us in the metro Atlanta area will hopefully receive some much needed rainfall.
As it was mentioned earlier, TROPICAL DEPRESSION #13 will have favorable conditions for further strengthening, making it TROPICAL STORM LEE as early as Friday morning. The cyclone’s slow motion will keep it over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico for the next two or so days, allowing it to strengthen into a strong tropical storm. It’s probable that winds along the Louisiana coastline could reach 60 mph as the storm moves ashore.
Remember that the strong winds will not be much of a factor with this storm. The biggest threat will be the incredible amount of rainfall from the cyclone’s very large size AND its very slow movement. Flooding will be an issue. Be prepared.