Tropical Storm Claudette expected to form in Gulf; NC faces risk of heavy rain, flooding over weekend

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(WGHP) — The National Hurricane Center is tracking a potential tropical cyclone that could hit the Gulf Coast before moving through the South, bringing a risk of heavy rainfall and flooding in North Carolina.

As of 11 p.m. Friday, Potential Tropical Cyclone Three was about 60 miles south-southeast of Morgan City, Louisiana, and 210 southwest of Mobile, Alabama. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph as it moves north at 13 mph.

The storm is expected to build strength, potentially becoming a subtropical or tropical storm. Forecasters say there is a 80% chance of formation. If it forms, the storm will be named Claudette.

Then, forecasters expect the storm to make landfall Friday night or early Saturday along the north-central Gulf Coast. It will likely continue moving northeast slowly through the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center says heavy rainfall and gusty winds have already begun to reach portions of the northern Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center says 5 to 10 inches of rain, with a chance of as much as 15 inches of rain, are likely to hit the Central Gulf Coasting starting on Friday.

As the system continues to lift northeast through the weekend, heavy rain will expand across the interior southeast and western Carolinas, resulting in rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 8 inches. Flash, urban, small stream and isolated minor river flooding impacts are possible.

North Carolina Emergency Management reports that, Sunday, the state faces a threat of heavy rainfall and localized flash, urban and stream flooding, especially across southern and western North Carolina.

“The system will likely move out of the area sometime on Monday, but a cold front is expected to move in behind the system late Monday – Tuesday and will keep rain and storm chances in the forecast for the beginning half of the work week,” NCEM said in a Twitter post.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
* East of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County line Florida.
* Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Metropolitan New Orleans

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