Friday, September 2, 2011

Gulf storm could bring heavy rains, near hurricane intensity, to coast

A slow-moving tropical system with the potential to douse summer-ending beach plans and bring up to 20 inches of rain and flooding to parts of the Gulf Coast could reach near-hurricane intensity before making landfall, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

The storm, which still fell short of tropical storm status late Friday morning, was likely to reach land in the next 48 hours, forecasters said.

The storm is moving slowly over warm waters, and atmospheric conditions that are limiting its development should become more favorable to strengthening over the next 24 hours, the weather service said.

The storm was barely moving Friday morning, inching northward at 2 mph. At 11 a.m. CT it was located 190 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River and had winds of 35 mph, the Hurricane Center reported. Rain was beginning to fall across much of southeastern Louisiana, the weather service said. more