Cristobal: Tropical storm warning issued for Gulf of Mexico

Alex Woodward

The National Hurricane Centre has issued a tropical storm warning as Cristobal is on track to produce "extreme rainfall" over the next two days as it makes its way into the central Gulf of Mexico.

Current models forecast the storm moving towards central Louisiana, and storm warnings are in place from the coasts of Texas to Florida.

Sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph could be expected by late Saturday night.

After picking up speed on Friday, Cristobal is moving north at 13 mph and is predicted to make landfall in central Louisiana on Sunday or Monday as a strong tropical storm. The storm is not expected to be upgraded to a hurricane, but it will likely gain strength as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

Impacted areas along the Gulf Coast would see rainfall totals between 4 and 8 inches and as high as 12 inches in some areas, according to the Hurricane Centre.

Tropical storm warnings are in place along southeast Louisiana, including the including the New Orleans metropolitan area, to the western Florida panhandle.

Storm surge watches are also in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which means there's a "danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline" over the next 48 hours, the Hurricane Centre reports.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued on Friday for Grand Isle, affecting roughly 10,000 people in an area roughly 100 miles outside of New Orleans on the state's southernmost points.

Cristobal had initially weakened to a tropical depression on Thursday, after it had made landfall along Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday.

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