RALEIGH, MS - Yesterday, we began passing along daily information about Tropical Storm Cristobal to you as it makes its way towards the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We will continue to monitor the situation through updates from the National Hurricane Center and communicate any changes to you so that you can adequately prepare for possible hazardous conditions.
At 4:00 PM CDT, the center of Tropical Depression Cristobal was located near latitude 17.5N, longitude 90.8W. The depression is moving toward the east-southeast near 3 mph. A turn toward the east and northeast is expected tonight, and a subsequent generally northward motion should occur through Sunday. On the forecast track, the center will move over extreme northwestern Guatemala and eastern Mexico tonight and Friday. The center is forecast to move back over the southern Gulf of Mexico late Friday, over the central Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, and approach the northern Gulf of Mexico coast Sunday and Sunday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Some additional weakening is possible overnight. Re-intensification is expected to begin late Friday. The estimated minimum central pressure is 999 mb (29.50 inches).
Currently, there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect. Interests along the Mississippi Gulf Coast should monitor the progress of this system. The National Hurricane Center notes that a tropical storm watch and a storm surge watch may be required for a portion of the area tonight or Friday.
It is important to note that on the current path, Cristobal's front right quadrant will be dishing out the most impactful weather to our area. This is due to several factors. The right front quadrant is a region of onshore winds as opposed to the left front quadrant which is a region of offshore winds. The right front quadrant of a landfalling hurricane brings stronger winds, storm surge and increased tornado possibilities and is generally the most devastating section of the storm. The onshore winds of a tropical cyclone tend to be strongest for a couple of reasons. Onshore winds have less friction over water and blow faster than those blowing offshore which have more friction. The forward speed of the entire cyclone also adds to the speed of the winds in the right front quadrant. For faster moving hurricanes this can increase the winds substantially.
We encourage you to begin making preparations now for potential tropical weather activity going into the weekend. As always, we will keep you informed and up-to-date with the latest information from the National Hurricane Center.