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article imageCristobal will make landfall along the Gulf Coast today

By Karen Graham     Jun 7, 2020 in Environment
Tropical Storm Cristobal will make landfall on the Gulf Coast today with threats of flooding rainfall, storm surge flooding, tornadoes, and gusty winds.
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center puts Tropical Storm Cristobal about 75 miles (125 kilometers) south-southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Cristobal is moving to the north at 12 mph (19 kph),
Maximum sustained winds are still close to 50 mph (85 kph), along with higher gusts. There will be little change in the storm's strength before landfall, and weakening will begin once Cristobal moves inland. The minimum central pressure is 994 MB - 29.35 inches.
Conditions have already started to deteriorate - with bands of heavy rain now pushing ashore from southeast Louisiana to north Florida and south Georgia. Rain, wind, and coastal flooding may linger into Monday along the northern Gulf Coast. And after Cristobal moves inland, expect heavy rain and gusty winds through the lower Mississippi Valley and upper Midwest into early next week.
Cristobal has already made its presence felt in Florida. Saturday evening, a tornado touched down near downtown Orlando, the National Weather Service said. The twister just missed a group of protesters at Lake Eola at around 7:30 p.m. No one was injured, but tree limbs were knocked down and there were some power outages.
“Yes, it is related to the tropical storm that is well to our west,” said Scott Kelly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida. “But the tropical storm provided a lot of low-level shear and that has allowed for some tornadoes to form over Central Florida.”
Most of the models are in alignment and expect that Cristobal will make landfall somewhere between Marsh Island to Slidell, Louisiana late Sunday night, into Monday morning. The storm will then head north across Arkansas and Missouri on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday.
Threats from the storm
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The NHC says storm surge of 3 to5 feet can be expected from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs MS, including Lake Borgne.
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds and will likely extend along the coast well to the east of the center. This means that Pensacola Bay and Tampa Bay can expect a storm surge of 2 to 4 feet.
As for the winds, tropical storm conditions are expected within the Tropical Storm Warning area along the northern Gulf coast today and tonight. Tropical-storm-force winds are located mainly north and east of the center of circulation. Winds have already gusted to near 40 mph at New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
The NHC is forecasting rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across portions of the central Gulf Coast and into the Lower Mississippi Valley, with isolated amounts to 12 inches. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with local amounts of up to 6 inches are expected across portions of the eastern Gulf Coast, along with the Mid to Upper Mississippi Valley and Northern Plains near and in advance of Cristobal.
And this storm is capable of spawning tornadoes. Pay attention to local weather reports if you live in eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and northern Florida.
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