The National Hurricane Center’s latest bulletin on Tropical Storm Arlene indicates that it is following the storm track predicted in previous bulletins (See IJ Web site June 9). They indicate that Arlene will come ashore on the U.S. Gulf Coast as early as Saturday morning between Louisiana and Alabama.
The NHC said: “A tropical storm watch will likely be required this morning for portions of the North Central U.S. Gulf Coast from Southeastern Louisiana eastward to the Florida panhandle. Interests elsewhere in the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor the progress of this system.”
Arlene is currently “spreading heavy rainfall and gusty winds across Western Cuba.” A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Dry Tortugas and Western Cuba from Pinar Del Rio to the city of Havana and nearby areas, including the Isle of Youth.
The storm is moving toward the north at around 8-mph (13 km/hr). “On this track the center of Arlene should cross near or over Western Cuba this morning,” the NHC continued. “A gradual increase in forward speed accompanied by a turn toward the north-northwest is expected later today. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/hr.) with higher gusts mainly to the north and east of the center. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, mainly after the center moves north of Cuba and over the Gulf of Mexico.”
The bulletin also noted that “tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 kms) to the North and East of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1001 mb -29.56 inches. Heavy rainfall, accompanied by brief gusty winds will continue to spread across Western and Central Cuba and into extreme southern Florida, especially the Florida Keys.”
Rainfall is expected to be heavy – between 5 and 10 inches (8 to 16 cms.) during the next 24 hours across the area, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches (24 cms) in higher elevations. The Florida Keys should get less rainfall – between 3 to 5 inches (4.8 to 8 cms.) over the next 24 hours. The NHC warned that “some coastal flooding is possible on the southern coast of western Cuba.”
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