Tropical Storm Lee Strengthening, September 3, 2011. (7 AM CDT)

Miami, Florida—(ENWSPF)—September 3, 2011 – UPDATE 7 AM CDT.  The National Hurricane Center is reporting that Tropical Storm Lee is strengthening.  Heavy rains are occurring over southern Louisiana with Tropical Storm conditions continuing along the coast.

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 7 AM CDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Lee was located by NOAA Doppler Weather Radars near latitude 29.4 north, longitude 92.0 west.  Lee is moving toward the north-northwest near 7 mph (11 km/h). A slow and possibly erratic motion toward the north-northwest or north 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 this morning or early afternoon, then move slowly across southern Louisiana on Sunday.

NOAA Doppler Weather Radars indicate maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mkph (95 km/h) with higher gusts.  Some slight strengthening is possible this morning before the center moves well inland over Louisiana this afternoon.

Tropical-Storm-force winds extend outward up to 200 miles (325 km) mainly southeast through northeast of the center.  Recently an oil rig just south of Grand Isle, Louisiana reported a sustained wind of 58 mph and a gust to 67 mph at 200 feet elevation.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on observations from oil rigs is 995 mb (29.38 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.  A storm surge of near 4 feet was recently reported at Shell Beach, Louisiana, and a surge height of 2.4 feet was reported at Grand Isle, Louisiana.

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

Isolated tornadoes are possible through tonight over portions of southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the far western Florida Panhandle.