Oil, Alex won’t mix; rain and wind heading this way

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com

Tropical Storm Alex has stayed south, away from the Deepwater Horizon site, but could bring flooding rains to South Mississippi today and Thursday.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued a flood watch through Thursday morning for Southeast Louisiana and the three coastal counties in Mississippi. Alex and a frontal boundary could combine to produce 2-4 inches of rain with 6 inches in some locations, causing street flooding and a threat to homes and businesses in flood prone areas.

“Tide levels will be 1 to 2 feet above normal,” said Mike Pigott, AccuWeather meteorologist at State College, Pa. He said Louisiana will slightly buffer the Mississippi Coast from the effects of Alex, keeping waves at 3 to 6 feet.

Winds of 10-20 mph could increase to 50 mph during thunderstorms, which he said could move surface oil in the Gulf toward the Mississippi Coast.

Alex was nearing hurricane strength Tuesday afternoon and is likely to become a hurricane. The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters out of Biloxi reported a partial eyewall formation on Tuesday.

The storm turned more than forecast, prompting the National Hurricane Center to shift the forecast track slightly south. The cone is almost entirely in northern Mexico with landfall expected early Thursday.

Thunderstorms associated with the tropical moisture from Alex will start to clear out from South Mississippi Thursday, said Pigott. The chance of spotty showers and thunderstorms continues through the Independence Day weekend.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/06/29/2298274/oil-alex-wont-mix-rain-and-wind.html#ixzz0sLy0k6gB

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