Hurricane watch issued for metro New Orleans; see Tropical Storm Sally’s latest track


A hurricane watch is in effect for part of southeast Louisiana as Tropical Storm Sally moves slowly away from south Florida, the National Hurricane Service said.

The watch is in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.

A storm surge watch is also in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Alabama-Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne and Mobile Bay.

Sally, the earliest named « S » storm in recorded hurricane season history, is forecast to move over the southeastern and eastern Gulf of Mexico Saturday night and Sunday, then move over the north-central Gulf Sunday night and Monday. It is expected to make landfall Tuesday along the Louisiana-Mississippi border, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane with winds up to 85 mph.

Currently located about 30 miles south-southwest of Naples, Florida as of 4 p.m., Sally is moving west at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. The storm is expected to turn toward the west-northwest Saturday night. A west-northwest or northwestward motion is expected during the next couple of days

Portions of the New Orleans area hurricane levee system on the east bank of the Mississippi River, including in St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East, are designed to protect from storm surge of 16½ feet to 30½ feet.

Storm surge predictions were to be updated as forecasters were able to make better predictions later in the weekend.

Beginning Sunday morning, the Hurricane Center predicted, the storm will produce three to 15 inches of rain, with localized amounts higher, in portions of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. New Orleans was expected to get six to eight inches of rain, Baton Rouge and Lafayette up to two inches.

The heaviest rain was expected to start Sunday and continue into the week, with water accumulation in low areas and spots with poor drainage making flash flooding « very possible » in southeast Louisiana.

The forecast came as the National Hurricane Center was monitoring several other disturbances in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and as southwest Louisiana is still reeling from Hurricane Laura.

Laura intensified more quickly than forecasters had initially predicted before making landfall as a strong Category 4 hurricane two weeks ago near Lake Charles.

The Hurricane Center was tracking six weather disturbances in the tropics, including Tropical Storm Paulette and Tropical Depression Rene.

A tropical wave off the west coast of Africa was given an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression by Monday morning and a 90 percent chance of formation by Thursday. It was unclear whether it will enter the Gulf of Mexico.

Gilmore reminded residents that it’s currently the historical peak of hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30. He urged everyone to have a hurricane kit with water, flashlights, food, important documents and more in place. « This is the time to be prepared, » he said.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has issued a mandatory evacuation order for Orleans Parish residents living outside of the parish’s levee pr…

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