Tropical Depression Cristobal threatens Louisiana with flooding and storm surge

Tropical Storm Cristobal continues to spawn tornadoes and waterspouts along the Gulf Coast. The first tornado watch of the day has been issued as Cristobal prepares to make landfall.

Posted: Jun 8, 2020 7:30 AM
Updated: Jun 8, 2020 7:30 AM

Tropical Depression Cristobal -- the third named storm of what is expected to be an active hurricane season -- threatens Louisiana with flooding and storm surges after making landfall between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Grand Isle.

The center of the storm is located about 40 miles north of Baton Rouge with maximum sustained winds of 35mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Storm surge warnings remain in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River towards Ocean Springs, Mississippi, including Lake Borgne.

The storm will dump heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding, mainly across the Mississippi River Valley in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Life-threatening storm surges could occur in parts of Mississippi and Louisiana. Storm surges occur when rising water moves inland from the coast, potentially causing injury and damage to property.

"A storm surge is a major threat, and it's the number one killer in tropical storms like this," CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.

New Orleans issued a voluntary evacuation order Sunday afternoon as well for areas outside the levee system.

Track Tropical Storm Cristobal here >>>

"The earliest calendar year landfalling named storm in Louisiana on record (since 1851) is Tropical Storm Arlene on May 30, 1959," Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, said on Twitter. "The 2nd earliest landfalling named storms in LA are unnamed tropical storms in 1912 & 1956 on June 13."

That means Cristobal is the second-earliest named storm to make landfall in Louisiana since records have been kept, he said.

Tropical storm warnings had been posted for much of the Louisiana coastline, Mississippi, Alabama and portions of the Florida panhandle.

"Do NOT focus on the center as impacts will occur outside of the cone, especially east of the center," the National Weather Service in Mobile said on their website. "Heavy rainfall of 4-6" with higher amounts up to 10" possible for coastal Alabama and southeast Mississippi."

Flooding will be the biggest concern

Impacts from the storm's landfall will be felt hundreds of miles away. Neighboring states to the east such as Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, even the Carolinas will pick up several inches of rain in a short period of time which could trigger flash flooding.

Widespread rainfall along the coast will likely be in the 5-10 inch range, with some areas picking up at least a foot total. These numbers alone would be impressive and cause flooding, but the problem for some of these states is that they have been dealing with excessive rains for the past month, so the ground is already saturated. This will exacerbate the flooding concern for states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida, which have already received at least 8-10 inches in just the last 30 days.

The storm will continue to progress northward into states including Iowa and Wisconsin that rarely see tropical systems in their backyard. While the storm will significantly weaken once it makes it that far north, it will still be able to produce several inches of rain for cities like Madison and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as well as Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, Iowa.

In addition to most Gulf Coast states, Arkansas and Missouri are also under flood watches in preparation for heavy rainfall to those states in the next 72 hours.

Tornadoes likely along the Gulf Coast

Another concern is the potential for severe weather. Tornadoes and water spouts -- funnel-shaped clouds over water -- have already been reported in the southeast.

"We're seeing not just the significant storm surge, but tornadoes," CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater said. "Numerous water spouts have been making their way over toward land."

The first Tornado Watch of the day was issued around 9 a.m. CT Sunday, which includes the coastal regions of Mississippi and Alabama and is valid until 5 p.m.

In Florida Saturday there were seven tornado reports, including one that hit near downtown Orlando. At least three homes were significantly impacted by storm activity, according to a city spokesperson.

For a time, SeaWorld and Universal Studios were under a tornado warning and a funnel cloud was sighted.

"Tropical storms like Cristobal can still be prolific tornado producers, especially when making landfall on the Gulf Coast," said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. "Landfalling tropical systems from the Gulf of Mexico produce more tornadoes than their counterparts making landfall along the Atlantic coast, largely because the right-front quadrant (where most tornadoes are found) is located completely onshore."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296154

Reported Deaths: 6764
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19700230
Hinds18851392
Harrison16736281
Rankin12757265
Jackson12623228
Lee9694161
Madison9480203
Jones7990147
Forrest7234138
Lauderdale6837226
Lowndes6032140
Lamar589680
Lafayette5740113
Washington5220130
Bolivar4616124
Oktibbeha441593
Panola431995
Pearl River4178131
Warren4134115
Pontotoc410571
Marshall403592
Monroe3990127
Union396174
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3552104
Hancock348975
Leflore3380118
Sunflower318986
Tate303174
Pike301296
Scott294570
Alcorn292263
Yazoo290565
Itawamba290175
Coahoma281169
Tippah279265
Copiah278758
Simpson276280
Prentiss270258
Wayne254341
Leake252871
Marion252778
Covington249580
Grenada247878
Adams234678
George232145
Newton230852
Winston221877
Jasper213645
Tishomingo212665
Attala206669
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie171239
Clarke169371
Calhoun158028
Smith153033
Yalobusha145036
Greene127833
Walthall124340
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry122135
Lawrence120321
Carroll118625
Amite111734
Webster110832
Jefferson Davis102231
Tunica99323
Claiborne98829
Benton93824
Humphreys92927
Kemper90323
Quitman77414
Franklin76119
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 497154

Reported Deaths: 10029
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson714001387
Mobile36252736
Madison32573462
Tuscaloosa24289414
Montgomery22708519
Shelby22112215
Baldwin19856285
Lee15021155
Calhoun13755288
Morgan13742252
Etowah13379320
Marshall11439210
Houston10110262
Elmore9451185
Limestone9413136
St. Clair9003225
Cullman8979182
Lauderdale8610212
DeKalb8486175
Talladega7582165
Walker6571259
Jackson6542103
Autauga631391
Blount6229127
Colbert5998120
Coffee5259103
Dale4657107
Russell406433
Franklin399778
Covington3989106
Chilton3891100
Escambia378772
Tallapoosa3613143
Clarke343953
Chambers3423111
Dallas3419142
Pike293372
Marion288895
Lawrence284683
Winston258668
Bibb245960
Geneva240270
Marengo238357
Pickens225055
Barbour212951
Hale211969
Fayette201357
Butler201166
Henry182941
Cherokee177739
Monroe166639
Randolph164640
Washington156635
Macon147243
Crenshaw146254
Clay145554
Cleburne139741
Lamar133733
Lowndes132551
Wilcox122525
Bullock117236
Conecuh107024
Perry105927
Sumter99432
Coosa89624
Greene88532
Choctaw55123
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