Tropical Storm Lee Drifting Northward Toward the Southern Louisiana Coast, September 2, 2011 (UPDATE 4 PM CDT)

Miami, Florida—(ENEWSPF)—September 2, 2011 – UPDATE 4 PM CDT.  The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Tropical Storm Lee is currently drifting northward toward the southern Louisiana coast.  Squalls with heavy rain and gusty winds are spreading inland across much of southeastern and south-central Louisiana.

Summary of Watches and Warnings in Effect

A Tropical Storm Warning is in Effect For:

  • Pascagoula, Mississippi westward to Sabine Pass, Texas including the city of New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that Tropical Storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 24 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 4 PM CDT (2100 UTC) the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located near latitude 27.5 north, longitude 91.5 west.  Lee is drifting toward the north near 2 mph (4 km/h).  A slow and possibly erratic motion toward the northwest or north is expected tonight and Saturday.  

On the forecast track, the center of the Tropical Storm is expected to approach the coast of southern Louisiana during the weekend.  Reports from oil rigs and an Air Force Reserve Unit Reconnaissance Aircraft indicate maximum sustained winds have increased to near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 200 miles (325 km) mainly northeast through southeast of the center.  A sustained wind of 60 mph was recently observed on an oil rig located about 65 miles south of the mouth of Mississippi River at an altitude a few hundred feet above the ocean surface.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on reports from nearby oil rigs is 1003 mb (29.62 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 with possible isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches.  These rains are expected to cause extensive flooding, especially in urban areas. Rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches will be possible over the Florida Panhandle through Sunday.

A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above ground level along the northern Gulf Coast within the Tropical Storm warning area.  Elevated water levels are also possible east of the warning area over coastal portions of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle resulting in minor coastal flooding within these areas.  See products issued by Local National Weather Service Forecast Offices for more details. 

Tropical Storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area this evening making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight over portions of southern Louisiana and extreme southern Mississippi.

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.