By ALAN SMASON
Tropical Storm Cristobal continued to move slowly towards an expected landfall in Lafourche Parish with outer rain bands already hitting New Orleans during the morning. At 9:00 a.m., the storm, which has begun to fire up more rain near its center, was located about 60 miles southwest of Grand Isle.
Cristobal has not experienced any significant strengthening due to two factors: dry air has been wrapping around the system to the west and gulf temperatures are not above 80 degrees Farenheit.
Heavy rains of at least 4-8 inches pose the greatest threat to the New Orleans area and a storm surge of 3-5 feet could push a significant amount of water onshore.
Landfall is predicted for 3 p.m. today with New Orleans expected to feel the brunt of the rains and street flooding as the storm moves northward and feeder bands sit over the city for an extended period.
With Cristobal to the west, the most dangerous area for possibly spinning off tornadoes and the heaviest rain is expected to affect New Orleans, but more likely, the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The heaviest sustained winds of 50 m.p.h. are expected closer to the loosely organized storm’s center.
Experts say the city could see as much as 6-10 inches of rain over the course of the next 24 hours.
New Orleans has been under a Tropical Storm Warning since Friday, which extends from Louisiana eastward to Walton County, Florida.