LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With the primary focus today on Sally in the Gulf, our weather locally remains quiet with much less rain expected this week thanks indirectly to the track of Sally’s landfall along the north-central Gulf Coast on Tuesday. Overall, our weather cooperates for continued clean-up and recovery efforts that are well underway, and outside of the hot and humid conditions, nothing weather-wise should slow down those efforts.
Sally is still expected to strengthen to hurricane status prior to it’s initial landfall near the Mouth of Mississippi River early Tuesday morning with a second landfall along coastal Mississippi as a category one hurricane. The storm is expected to continue to slow to a crawl as it moves closer to land, thus bringing a flood threat to areas mainly east of the landfall. Some areas could receive nearly a foot of rain well east of the center, including Biloxi, Pascagoula, Mobile, Pensacola and Destin.
The storm surge east of the landfall could be upwards of 6 to 9 feet along the Mississippi coast, while the track east of New Orleans will spare our state from significant storm surge flooding. Trends have continued to point toward a slight eastward shift in the track, but it’s important to note that any nudge westward prior to landfall could change those impacts for New Orleans quite a bit. If the track continues to move farther east, those impacts will be even lower for Southeastern Louisiana.
Cities such as Lafayette and Baton Rouge will likely receive barely a drop of rain from Sally while even the New Orleans area will miss the brunt of the heaviest rain as Sally moves ashore. Lake Charles will see no direct impacts from Sally, with northeasterly winds keeping a nice breeze in place and rain chances very limited.
A weak front will push in from the north later this week, sending a break in humidity our way toward the end of the work week and weekend. This will also keep rain chances out of the forecast for the upcoming weekend with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s.
There are several other tropical entities in the Atlantic basin including Paulette which is bearing down on Bermuda this morning, Rene which stays out to sea, Teddy which stays out to sea but could become a major hurricane this week and Tropical Depression 21 which also stays out to sea. None of those systems poses any threat to the Gulf. Once Sally clears the area, I expect the Gulf of Mexico to stay clear of tropical systems for at least the next 7 to 10 days. Hurricane season continues into October though, and there are no signs yet of a significant break in the busy season that’s underway now. That means once we use up the last two names on the list which are Vicky and Wilfred, we begin using the Greek alphabet. Don’t worry about how active the season is overall, because unless there is a threat to Southwest Louisiana, we have nothing to worry about, and if we do, you’ll hear it here first!
First Alert Meteorologist Ben Terry