Miami, Jun 7 (efe-epa).- Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall about 5 pm Sunday on the southeastern coast of Louisiana packing sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center reported.
After leaving death and destruction on its passage through Central America and Mexico, Cristobal now threatens a large portion of the US Gulf Coast – particularly the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida – with heavy winds, storm surge, possible tornadoes and flooding, along with up to 12 inches of rainfall.
Currently, Cristobal, which is not predicted to become a hurricane and, in fact, is forecast to lose strength in the coming hours, is located 50 miles southeast of New Orleans, according to a special NHC bulletin Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of US residents were reported to be without power Sunday morning in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi, and some roads were said to be flooded, while the National Weather Service had reported one tornado in Florida on Saturday night near downtown Orlando.
This weather system is the second tropical storm to make landfall in the US after Bertha did so on May 27 in South Carolina, although that storm reportedly did not cause any serious incidents or local damage.
The NHC on Sunday was maintaining its tropical storm warnings from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the border between Okaloosa and Walton Counties, in northwest Florida, as well as for Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, both in Louisiana.
Storm surge alerts are also in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Spring, Mississippi, and east of Morgan City to the mouth of the Mississippi, and Lake Borgne, also in Louisiana.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within the next 24 hours.
A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations, whereas a Storm Surge Watch means that the danger exists within the next 48 hours.
Cristobal has already made landfall on Mexico’s Atlantic coast on June 3 after forming from what remained of Tropical Storm Amanda in the Pacific, which caused several deaths and significant destruction in Central America.
This storm is moving north at about 7 miles per hour and in the coming hours its center will continue moving northwest over Louisiana, later passing over Arkansas and Missouri and bringing heavy rain to the region.
Cristobal is the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1 and which is forecast to have more storms than normal, according to US authorities.
Colorado State University on June 4 announced that it is predicting 19 named storms, including nine hurricanes, four of them major storms, greater activity than had been predicted in April, while the NHC calculated that there will be 13-19 tropical storms this season.
A “normal” hurricane season generally has 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major storms, meaning that they are rated 3, 4 or 5 on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale.