Tropical system could be Cat-3 hurricane by landfall

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021

A tropical depression that formed Thursday in the Caribbean could be a Category 2 or 3 hurricane by the time it reaches the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend, according to forecasters.

The forecasted path of the storm as of late Thursday morning put the eye of the storm coming inland between New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana, and moving northward as far as Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Rains from the storm are expected to affect all of Louisiana and almost the entire areas of Mississippi and Arkansas.

The Cuban and Cayman governments have issued tropical storm warnings following the formation of Tropical Depression Nine, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

Late Thursday morning, the depression had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was located about 115 miles southwest of Negril, Jamaica, and about 210 miles southeast of Grand Cayman.

The depression was traveling northwest at about 13 mph and is expected to become a tropical storm by Thursday night when it passes over the Cayman Islands.

It could be a hurricane when it approaches western Cuba and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Friday, and a major hurricane by the time it reaches the northern U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday, the weather service said. The central U.S. Gulf Coast should start to see rain from the depression by early Sunday.

The hurricane will most likely be named Ida or Julian.

The depression is forecast to deliver anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain over parts of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman islands. Forecasters warned of possible flash floods and mudslides and a storm surge of as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal, along with “large and destructive waves.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.