Saturday, February 18, 2012

Strong to Severe Storms Due in New Orleans / Mardi Gras In About An Hour...

The above image was just taken by the New Orleans area radar. The city of New Orleans is located at the center of the image (click to enlarge).

As you can see, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms is located about 55 miles West of the city of New Orleans, and moving East at 40-45 mph.  At this rate, the strongest activity will reach the New Orleans area toward 1 o'clock or so.  It is also possible that new thunderstorm activity will develop over the immediate New Orleans area, ahead of the main line, between now and 1pm CST.

Strong, gusty winds of 55-65 mph and hail up to 1 inch in diameter have been reported with the activity to the West over the past few hours.  In addition, the threat exists for tornado spin-ups along the leading edge of the initial line of thunderstorms.  Several funnel clouds and at least one brief tornado touchdown were reported near and West of Lafayette earlier this morning.

A Tornado Watch continues across the region until 3pm CST:

Folks in and around the New Orleans area, especially those outdoors at Mardi Gras activities, should remain alert.  Map out the area now and have a safe indoor shelter in mind when storms roll in over the next hour.  Cloud to ground lightning is very frequent with this activity, as well as very heavy rain.

The initial line of storms will move through rather quickly, but there is a large shield of moderate to locally heavy rain that will spread across the area throughout much of the remainder of the afternoon.

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