The flooding in New Orleans Wednesday morning was so bad that people were using kayaks to navigate city streets.
The National Hurricane Center began issuing advisories Wednesday morning for a tropical system that has the potential to become a tropical storm or hurricane as early as Thursday evening. Tropical Storm Barry has a near 100 percent chance of forming, AccuWeather forecasters say, and, depending on the track it takes, the storm could flirt with becoming a hurricane before making landfall. The storm will likely change to Tropical Storm Barry by tomorrow and continue to strengthen.
Lines of thunderstorms associated with the system on Wednesday extended far out in into the Gulf and battered New Orleans, were as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain hit the New Orleans metropolitan area over a three-hour period Wednesday morning, forecasters said.
"Right now, our greatest concern is for torrential rain that would result in life-threatening flooding", Kottlowski said.
He said in a press conference: "We're not sure yet of the exact track of the storm, or the strength of the potential tropical system once it makes landfall".
The Mississippi River is predicted to crest at 20 feet on Saturday, which, as meteorologist Eric Holthaus pointed out, is the height of New Orleans' levees. Those from MS to Southeastern Texas should still monitor this and prepare for the potential of flooding rains and high winds. Right along the coast south of Louisiana, water temperatures are now approaching 32ºC - more than ample fuel for a healthy storm.
A forecast of landfall anywhere from Lake Charles to New Orleans has equal weight roughly 72 hours out this point.and even the Upper Texas Coast remains in play.
Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to investigate the storm Thursday afternoon. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico produces 17% of U.S. crude oil and 5% of natural gas.
The NOAA now believes the storm could intensify to hurricane strength later this week.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season could end up with its second named storm of the year, thanks to a pesky low pressure system that has been hovering over the Florida Panhandle during the past few days.
Tropical storms can form from old cool fronts that stall over the Deep South or along the Atlantic coast.
Storm surge: the combination of a risky storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.