MIAMI — Forecasters say a disturbance in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is likely to become a tropical storm that will hit the northern U.S. Gulf Coast with wind and rain.
The National Hurricane Center says the low pressure system is likely to develop into a tropical or subtropical system today.
Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for southeastern Louisiana and the northern Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Mississippi line to the Big Bend area of Florida.
The disturbance had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kmh) and was located about 620 miles (995 kilometers) southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was moving to the north at 8 mph (13 kmh) with a northeastern turn expected.
Heavy rain is possible across parts of the Southeast.
Citrus County was placed under a storm surge warning Thursday afternoon, according to a release from sheriff’s office Capt. David DeCarlo, director of county emergency management.
Forecasters predict the storm’s westerly winds, which extend 115 miles southwest of the system's center, to reach the Florida’s Gulf coast by Friday afternoon.
Constant gusts could possibly push between 3 to 5 feet of Gulf waters onto shores from Indian Pass, south to Chassahowitzka, impacting Citrus County's coast, DeCarlo said.
Storm surge potentials depend on the system’s interactions with times of high tide.
DeCarlo said rainfall totals are expected to be between 2 and 4 inches, with isolated areas reaching up to 5 inches of rain.
For more on the storm’s track, visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at www.nhc.noaa.gov.
Chronicle staff writer Buster Thompson contributed to this report.