September 4, 2011 – Erratic Tropical Storm Lee Won’t Go Away: Drop of the keys Lee – Please go away. At 10AM Sunday, Tropical Storm Lee (TSL) was located 45 miles west of Morgan City Louisiana, with sustained winds of 45 MPH. TSL is moving SSE at a glacial 3 MPH. TSL’s slow movement mean more rain and a storm that is difficult to track (see map).
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Destin, Florida; westward to Sabine Pass, Texas – Including New Orleans and Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.
Tropical Storm Force winds extend outward for up to 275 miles; mainly east and southeast of the center of the storm. A storm surge of more than 4 feet recently occurred just south of Morgan City, Louisiana at Amerada Pass.
Rainfall: TSL is expected to produce rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches from the central Gulf Coast northward into the Tennessee Valley; with possible isolated amounts of 20 inches. Extensive flooding should be expected, including flash floods.
Storm Surge: Water levels of as much as 3 to 5 feet, above ground level, are occurring over portions of the Louisiana Coast. Levels of as much as 1 to 3 feet are occurring along the Mississippi and Alabama coast, including Mobile Bay.
Wind: Tropical Storm conditions are expected to continue along the estimated storm tract (see map), today and tonight. A few tornadoes are possible today and tonight over portions of Southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and south-west Georgia.
Meteorologists called TPS one of the stranger storms they’ve seen, with its erratic course and on-again, off-again nature. Further, it just appeared out of nowhere like a “ghost” storm.
On a positive note, a power utility company reported that by early evening, power had been restored to more than two-thirds of the roughly 35,000 customers in Louisiana who had lost electricity during the day. Most of the remaining homes without power — around 8,000 — were in the city of New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish.
Elsewhere, like in the small community of Jean Lafitte, the fight against storm surge and rising waters was already under way. An evacuation has been issued for Jean Lafitte and several surrounding communities, and sandbags were being piled up to keep water out of homes.
The president of St. Tammany Parish, which sits on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, said that roads in some areas had already become impassable. In Alabama, rough seas prompted officials to close the Port of Mobile.
Parts of the southern United States have been parched by lack of rain for an extend period of time. Therefore, TPS is good in that regard. However, rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches quickly produce flooding.
The Master of Disaster