Tropical Storm Edouard, which formed Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico and began lashing the Louisiana coast with rain and wind, could reach hurricane strength before making landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border Tuesday morning, according to forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.
The coast is under a tropical storm warning from the mouth of the Mississippi River west to San Luis Pass, and a hurricane watch is in effect from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Port O'Connor, Texas. The storm could drop 2-4 inches of rain over a wide area, 6 inches in some areas. It could spawn tornadoes.
The fifth named storm of 2008 in the Atlantic, Edouard would be the third hurricane, after Bertha and Dolly.
Even if it doesn't become a hurricane, Tropical Storm Edouard has powerful 50 mph sustained winds with higher gusts. It formed near the Gulf of Mexico's oil and natural gas rigs, and could affect not only them but also oil refineries, according to Reuters.
As the markets open, look for oil traders to take note.
Its formation follows a week of relative calm, but it could be the first of several storms brewing, as tropical disturbances in the Atlantic this weekend showed the possibility of taking on tropical storm characteristics. Forecasters continue to track one, but it shows little chance of formation within the next couple of days.
Forecasters have predicted an above-average hurricane season for the Atlantic, where the storms most damaging to the U.S. form, could spawn 12 to 16 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes and as many as five major hurricanes.
The first tropical storm of the Atlantic season, Arthur, brought punishing rains to parts of Central America June 1, right in time for the official start of the hurricane season. Hurricane Bertha followed, the longest-lived tropical storm on record in July. Hurricane Dolly dumped copious rain on Texas and neighboring states, leading to flooding and costly damage in some communities.
The eastern Pacific Ocean has seen seven named storms and four hurricanes.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have predicted that conditions will spawn a below-average storm season in the eastern Pacific, with 11-16 named storms, including five to eight hurricanes, as many as three of them major (Category 3 or greater) storms.
Tropical Storm Arthur formed quickly on May 31 off Belize, lost tropical storm strength in fewer than 24 hours, and brought punishing rains of 10-15 inches to parts of the Yucatán Peninsula, including Mexico and Guatemala.
Hurricane Bertha formed as a tropical storm July 3 in the far eastern Atlantic, then debuted as the Atlantic's first hurricane July 7 and quickly grew to major hurricane status. By the time it affected land, July 14 in Bermuda, it was a strong tropical storm, causing rough surf and 3-5 inches of rain. It broke the record for longest-lived July storm and on July 18 reformed into a hurricane.
Tropical Storm Cristobal formed on July 19 off the coast of the Carolinas. The first named storm to threaten the U.S. coast, Cristobal threatened 3-5 inches of rain and strong storm surges across South and North Carolina.
Hurricane Dolly reached Category 2 strength in the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall near the Texas-Mexico border July 23, 2008. Heavy rains and wind led to flooding and costly damage in Texas and in neighboring states.
Tropical Storm Edouard formed August 3 in the Gulf of Mexico and almost immediately forecasters said it could reach hurricane strength before striking the Texas or Louisiana coast.
Tropical Storm Alma brought heavy rains and winds to the Central American nations of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala after forming May 29.
Hurricane Boris formed near Baja California and headed west into the Pacific, before reaching hurricane strength July 1.
Tropical Storm Cristina formed near Hawaii June 29 but dissipated before making landfall.
Tropical Storm Douglas formed July 2 and threatened to dump heavy rains on portions of southwest Mexico.
Hurricane Elida formed July 12 as a tropical storm and became the season's second Pacific hurricane July 14 when it became a weak Category 1 storm tracking westward from Mexico.
Tropical Storm Fausto formed July 16 off the coast of Mexico and could grow into a hurricane.
Hurricane Genevieve formed in the Pacific Ocean, more than 580 miles off the coast of Mexico, on July 25, 2008, and did not affect land.
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