Hurricane

Gulf coast and Panhandle should brace for heavy rain, forecasters say

National Hurricane Center

The Florida Panhandle and Louisiana and Texas coasts should brace for heavy rain as a messy storm system approaches today, hurricane forecasters said.

In their 11 a.m. advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm, located 265 miles south of Louisiana’s southeast coast, is becoming better defined. They expect it to become a tropical depression or storm later today. With winds stretching more than 200 miles, impacts could be felt as far as the Panhandle.

Tropical storm force winds could reach the Louisiana and Texas coasts later today, along with a one to three-foot storm surge, forecasters said.

The storm is also packing heavy rain and expected to generate six to nine inches along the coast. Up to 12 inches are possible in areas, from the Florida Panhandle to southeastern Louisiana, forecasters said.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Bret was located about 315 miles east of Curacao with sustained winds of 45 mph. The rapidly moving storm is expected to continue moving north, northwest through Wednesday across the southeastern Caribbean. Tropical storm force winds extend about 125 miles from the storm’s center.

As it encounters high wind sheer, the storm is expected to lose steam today and fizzle by Thursday.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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