The Atlantic hurricane season is only a couple of weeks old, and the third named storm of the season could already be with us by the weekend. Freight flows and supply chains may be temporarily delayed in the lower Mississippi Valley.
A broad low-pressure system located over the eastern portion of the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. This system will move little Thursday morning, and little if any development is expected during that time due to interaction with land and fairly strong wind shear aloft.
However, the system should begin to nudge northward by Thursday afternoon, and a tropical depression or tropical storm is likely to form by late Thursday night or Friday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is pegging the odds of this happening at 80 to 90%.
This is when the disturbance will be over the warm waters of the western Gulf of Mexico, where sea surface temperatures are in the low- and mid-80s, and wind shear will be a bit weaker. If a center of circulation forms and sustained winds around the center reach 39 mph, it will become Tropical Storm Claudette. According to the NHC, an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the area Thursday.
Regardless of development, heavy rainfall will continue over portions of Central America and southern Mexico during the next couple of days. Heavy rain should begin to affect portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast Friday, continuing into Father’s Day weekend while spreading inland.
Coastal flooding is possible in southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as western Florida. Flooding may also occur across areas just inland. This would impact the Interstate 10 corridor from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Florida.
Most forecast models show weekend rain totals of 3 to 6 inches for much of the region, with some spots receiving more than 6 inches.
The rain could spread into the Tennessee Valley Sunday, then into the Ohio Valley Monday, depending on the system’s exact track. Look for updates on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.
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