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Tropical Storm Sally May Pose Hurricane-Sized Threat To Louisiana, Mississippi

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National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Sally was born over South Florida on Saturday and took aim at Louisiana. It joined another significant system in the Gulf that could bring rain to Deep South Texas or northern Mexico by midweek.

In an interview with TPR on Friday, Todd Beal with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth explained that the weak system nearing the Texas-Mexico coast was expected to move southwest throughout next week. It was not yet clear if the system would directly impact Texas.

By Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) estimated Sally would grow into a hurricane on Monday and remain at hurricane strength as it made landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi on Tuesday.

"A Hurricane Watch is in effect from Grand Isle, LA, to the Alabama/Florida border, where hurricane-force winds are possible by early Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible on Monday," the NHC tweeted Saturday. It later tweeted that a storm surge watch was issued from the Mississippi River to the Alabama-Florida border.

Aside from those two systems, Beal said, forecasters continued watching Tropical Storm Paulette and Tropical Depression Rene, which weakened overnight from a tropical storm, thereby retaining its assigned name.

Rene's short, jagged track in the mid-Atlantic posed no threat to the U.S.

Forecasters expected Paulette's storm swells to threaten Bermuda, at the most, as it moved northwest. By Saturday evening, it was growing into a hurricane. But forecasters expected it would eventually turn northeast and head back into the North Atlantic.

Beal added that the NHC also monitored a new pair of tropical systems off the western African coast. By Saturday evening, one system had grown into Tropical Depression Twenty, and forecasters warned it too could become a hurricane by Tuesday. However, like Paulette, it would likely pose no threat to land.

The other system, south of the Cape Verde Islands, remained little more than a collection of strong storms. But the NHC expected it to also strengthen in the coming days.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently warned that this year's season could see twice the normal number of named storms.

The remaining names from 2020's list of "Tropical Cyclone Names" are Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred. If that list is exhausted, the NHC explained, "additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet."

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

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