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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: 503322

Reported Deaths: 10057
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34400541
DeSoto32318411
Hinds32074631
Jackson24551386
Rankin22103391
Lee15657235
Madison14662281
Jones13894243
Forrest13506253
Lauderdale12037318
Lowndes11091192
Lamar10531138
Pearl River9557238
Lafayette8581140
Hancock7751130
Washington7458161
Oktibbeha7152133
Monroe6796178
Warren6752176
Pontotoc6736104
Neshoba6656206
Panola6572131
Marshall6494135
Bolivar6331150
Union607794
Pike5849154
Alcorn5691102
Lincoln5468135
George502979
Scott474198
Tippah472481
Prentiss471582
Leflore4676144
Itawamba4651105
Tate4632111
Adams4617120
Copiah450092
Simpson4458116
Yazoo445388
Wayne440772
Covington429894
Sunflower4246105
Marion4236108
Coahoma4178108
Leake409888
Newton383179
Grenada3731108
Tishomingo361592
Stone360664
Jasper336565
Attala335290
Winston315391
Clay309077
Chickasaw302367
Clarke295894
Calhoun279947
Holmes268788
Smith266550
Yalobusha237247
Tallahatchie228752
Greene220649
Walthall219364
Lawrence213640
Perry206456
Amite206056
Webster203446
Noxubee186940
Montgomery179757
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169639
Tunica160139
Benton149439
Kemper142141
Choctaw134627
Claiborne132838
Humphreys129738
Franklin120728
Quitman106828
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson95934
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 821255

Reported Deaths: 15424
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1149051930
Mobile726651340
Madison52400699
Shelby37685350
Baldwin37285552
Tuscaloosa35147613
Montgomery34130740
Lee23556246
Calhoun22255490
Morgan21037378
Etowah19844500
Marshall18390304
Houston17406412
St. Clair16091339
Cullman15493293
Limestone15402199
Elmore15292286
Lauderdale14366295
Talladega13870283
DeKalb12670261
Walker11255370
Blount10227176
Autauga10061148
Jackson9909185
Coffee9215191
Dale8912186
Colbert8907201
Tallapoosa7103198
Escambia6782134
Covington6724183
Chilton6658162
Russell637659
Franklin5992105
Chambers5615142
Marion5016127
Dallas5013202
Pike4799106
Clarke477284
Geneva4577127
Winston4538103
Lawrence4352117
Bibb425686
Barbour358376
Marengo338390
Monroe332064
Randolph330264
Butler328596
Pickens317384
Henry313166
Hale311988
Cherokee303260
Fayette294580
Washington251651
Cleburne247960
Clay245568
Crenshaw245475
Macon235563
Lamar225747
Conecuh186654
Coosa180940
Lowndes175764
Wilcox169139
Bullock151844
Perry139240
Sumter133338
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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Columbus
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High pressure leaves our area overnight and allows room for some low pressure and a cold front to move into our area on Wednesday. This will bring some good chances for some rain and isolated thunderstorms into our area during later portions of our Wednesday.
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