Tropical Storm Lee Approaching Atchafalaya Bay, September 3, 2011 (UPDATE 10 AM CDT)

Miami, Florida—(ENEWSPF)—September 3, 2011 – UPDATE 10 AM CDT.  The National Hurricane Center reports that Tropical Storm Lee is approaching Atchafalaya Bay with heavy rains, strong, gusty winds and possible tornadoes lashing southeastern Louisiana.

Summary of Watches and Warnings in effect

A Tropical Storm Warning is in Effect For:

  • Alabama/Florida border westward to Sabine Pass, Texas, including the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas

A Tropical Storm Watch is in Effect For:

  • Alabama/Florida border eastward to Destin, Florida

A Tropical Storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your Local National Weather Service Forecast Office.

Discussion and 48-Hour Outlook

At 10 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located near latitude 29.3  north, longitude 91.8 west.  Lee is moving toward the north near 6 mph (9 km/h).  A slow and possibly erratic motion toward the north or north-northwest is expected during the next 24 hours followed by a gradual turn toward the northeast.   On the forecast track, the center of Lee is expected to cross the Louisiana coast later this morning or early afternoon, then move slowly across southern Louisiana tonight and Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h), with higher gusts.   Some fluctuations in strength are possible this afternoon and evening with gradual weakening forecast to occur on Sunday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles (370 km) from the center.  A sustained wind of 49 mph (80 km/h) and a gust to 54 mph (87 km/h) were recently reported at the NOAA Buoy located about 50 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, and a wind gusts to near 60 mph have been reported in the New Orleans metropolitan area this morning.

A storm surge of 4 feet was recently reported at Shell Beach, Louisiana.  A surge height of 3.5 feet has been reported in Lake Pontchartrain at New Canal Station, and a surge height of 2 feet has been reported as far east as Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Rainfall amounts up to 7 inches have occurred thus far across portions of southeastern Louisiana.

The minimum central pressure recently reported by an Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance Aircraft was 993 mb (29.32 inches).

Hazards Affecting Land

Tropical Storm Lee is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches over southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama through Sunday night with possible isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches.   These rains are expected to cause extensive flooding.  Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches will be possible over the Florida Panhandle through Sunday night.

A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level along the Louisiana coast and by as much as 2 to 4 feet above ground level along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts including Mobile Bay.  See products issued by Local National Weather Service Forecast Offices for more details.

Tropical Storm conditions are expected to continue over portions of the warning area today.

A few tornadoes will be possible through tonight over portions of southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the far western Florida Panhandle.

Surface Wind Field

Click image to zoom in[Image of initial wind radii]

About this product:

This graphic shows the areas potentially being affected by the sustained winds of tropical storm force (in orange) and hurricane force (in red). The display is based on the wind radii contained in the latest Forecast/Advisory (indicated at the top of the figure). Users are reminded that the Forecast/Advisory wind radii represent the maximum possible extent of a given wind speed within particular quadrants around the tropical cyclone. As a result, not all locations falling within the orange or red shaded areas will be experiencing sustained tropical storm or hurricane force winds, respectively.

In addition to the wind field, this graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The white dot indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone, and the dashed line shows the history of the center of the tropical cyclone.