Tampa Bay has never been near the expected path of Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 since the National Hurricane Center first identified the system on Tuesday.
With the storm poised to strike Louisiana Saturday, that remains the case on Friday evening. Not even the storm’s tropical-storm-force winds, which extend outward up to 205 miles from its center, are expected to impact Tampa Bay, according to Dustin Norman of the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.
The extent of the storm’s effect on our region will be, at the worst, a “not-so-comfortable boat day on the water,” Norman said. As for life on land, the region is poised for a typical June weekend: Highs into the low 90s with scattered showers both Saturday and Sunday.
Specifically, Tampa Bay will have a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday with a high of 92. Sunday will be slightly wetter with a 50 percent chance of rain and a high of 90, according to Spectrum Bay News 9.
Those in Louisiana likely won’t be so lucky. Though a far cry from the wrath inflicted by hurricanes Laura and Delta a year ago, the National Hurricane Center projects the storm could bring flood-inducing rainfall to the state’s eastern coast this weekend.
The hurricane center says Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 is likely to become Tropical Storm Claudette by the time it makes landfall on Saturday morning. In the areas expected to be hit the hardest, the system could drop up to 12 inches of rain. Elsewhere, from New Orleans to the Alabama-Florida border, rainfall is expected to be between four to eight inches.
Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 already had sustained winds of 45 mph on Friday afternoon — enough to be classified a tropical storm — but has is yet to be classified as a tropical storm because it lacks a well-defined center of circulation. The hurricane center wrote in a 5 p.m. advisory that the storm’s center is slowly organizing, however.
After landfall, the storm is expected to weaken rapidly. Still, heavy rain is expected across southeastern Mississippi, southern Alabama, northern Georgia and even North Carolina.
There is also a possibility for isolated tornadoes across coastal Louisiana on Friday night. By Saturday, this chance will extend to the southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle, according to the hurricane center.
If Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 earns the official designation of Tropical Storm Claudette ahead of landfall, it would be the third named storm of the 2021 hurricane season. The next named storms of the season will be called Danny and Elsa.