Weather

Funnel clouds and waterspouts and rain — oh, my

An area of tropical moisture and low pressure began to form over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near the Florida panhandle Saturday morning. It is expected to slowly expand west along the coast.
An area of tropical moisture and low pressure began to form over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near the Florida panhandle Saturday morning. It is expected to slowly expand west along the coast. National Weather Service

Waterspouts, tropical funnel clouds, severe thunderstorms and flooding are all possible every day through Friday, according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

The NWS issued a hazardous-weather outlook Saturday afternoon that warned of scattered thunderstorms beginning Saturday evening and a few strong to severe thunderstorms again Sunday and through the next six days.

“The greatest risk will be downburst wind gusts 40 to 60 mph, frequent to continuous lightning strikes and locally heavy rainfall that can result in localized flooding of low-lying and poorly drained areas,” the NWS alert said. “Waterspouts and tropical funnels will be possible each day.”

A tropical funnel is a vortex that occurs in tropical climates and is similar to a regular funnel cloud, though it is weaker and does not last as long.

An area of tropical moisture and low pressure began to form over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Panhandle on Saturday morning and is expected to slowly expand west.

NWS meteorologist Gavin Phillips said the rain is likely to first strike areas east of Biloxi as the moisture system is expected to expand and pop up in areas along the Coast, stretching as far as southwest Louisiana.

“It’s not moving — that’s the problem,” Phillips said of the tropical moisture formation. “It’s expanding. The best chance of heavier setup is going to Mobile to Tallahassee.”

The thunderstorms are expected to bring between 1 and 7 inches of rain over coastal Mississippi and southwest Louisiana.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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