(CNN)Tropical Cristobal storm — the third named storm of what is expected to be an active hurricane season — has made landfall sometime on Sunday afternoons or early evenings.
At the moment Tropical Storm Cristobal has sustained 50 mph winds as it begins to reach the Gulf Coast. Cristobal is expected to maintain tropical storm strength later on Sunday, through landfall.
“The earliest calendar year landfalling named storm in Louisiana on record (since 1851) is Tropical Storm Arlene on May 30, 1959,” Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at CSU, said on Twitter. “The 2nd earliest landfalling named storms in LA are unnamed tropical storms in 1912 & 1956 on June 13.”
That means Cristobal would be the second earliest named storm to make landfall in Louisiana since records have been held, according to Klotzbach.
As for the landfall place of Cristobal, virtually all simulations are in line, and predict the point to fall to Slidell, Louisiana somewhere between Marsh Island. But this does not mean that you do not need to pay attention to locations outside this area. Tropical storm warnings for much of the coastline of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and portions of the Florida panhandle are posted.
“Do NOT focus on the center as impacts will occur outside of the cone, especially east of the center,” the Mobile National Weather Service said on their website. “Heavy 4-6” rainfall probable for coastal Alabama and southeastern Mississippi with higher quantities up to 10.
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Flooding will be a major concern
Regardless of where the storm makes landfall, hundreds of miles away will feel the impacts. Eastern neighboring states like Florida, Alabama , Mississippi, Georgia, and even the Carolinas will each pick up several inches of rain in a short time that could trigger flash flooding.
Widespread rainfall along the coast is likely to be within 5-10 inch range, with some areas picking up at least a total of one foot. These numbers alone would be impressive and cause flooding, but for some of these states the problem is they have been dealing with excessive rains for the past month, so the ground is already saturated. This will exacerbate the flooding concern for states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida that have received at least 8-10 inches in just the last 30 days already.
When the hurricane reaches landfall it will begin to advance northward into states like Iowa and Wisconsin that never see tropical storms in their backyard. Although the storm will weaken significantly once it becomes so far north, it will still be able to produce several inches of rain for cities such as Madison and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as well as Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, Iowa.
Arkansas and Missouri are also under flood watches in preparation for heavy rainfall for those states in the next 72 hours, in addition to most Gulf Coast states.
Tornadoes probable along the Gulf Coast
The risk for extreme weather is also another issue. For the coastal regions of Louisiana and Mississippi the Storm Prediction Center has issued a “slight risk”. In addition to parts of coastal Alabama and Florida panhandle, a “marginal risk” has also been released that covers the minor risk.
“Tropical storms like Cristobal can still be prolific tornado producers, especially when making landfall on the Gulf Coast,” meteorologist Brandon Miller of CNN said. “Landfalling tropical systems from the Gulf of Mexico produce more tornadoes than their counterparts making landfall along the Atlantic coast, largely because the right-front quadrant (where most tornadoes are found) is located completely onshore.”
The day’s first Tornado Watch was issued at around 9 a.m. CT Sunday which covers the Mississippi and Alabama coastal regions and is valid until 5 p.m.
There were seven tornado reports in Florida Saturday, including one which hit near downtown Orlando. According to a city spokesman, at least three households were seriously affected by storm activity.
SeaWorld and Universal Studios have been under a tornado warning for a time, and the sight of a funnel cloud.
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