NEW ORLEANS – An occasionally soggy week remains on tap for the Gulf Coast region, but a broad area of low pressure responsible for the storms is showing signs of weakening.
Still, several tropically infused showers and thunderstorms will be roaming around the region, bringing the potential for isolated areas of flash flooding Wednesday and Thursday.
Those in New Orleans already know the drill. Heavy rain sent those along the French Quarter scurrying for cover at times on Tuesday.
"(There was) some intermittent flash flooding in New Orleans metro and surrounding region," said FOX Weather Multimedia Journalist Robert Ray. "And that's pretty much what we're going to see scattered today and the coming days as this system that has been sitting in the Gulf of Mexico is going to affect a lot of the northern Gulf Coast shores – and that includes the Florida Panhandle, all the way over into New Orleans and even to the west."
Tropical development no longer a concern
A cold front sweeping down from the north had mixed with a tropical disturbance to bring scattered heavy thunderstorms to the area, fueling not only torrential downpours but concerns with a very warm Gulf of Mexico that a more formal tropical system could develop.
Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center had previously given a 30% of tropical development over the next five days and were scheduling Hurricane Hunter aircraft to fly into the Gulf Wednesday for further investigation.
However, the overall weather pattern in the Gulf Coast region has shown signs of weakening Wednesday morning.
"(Satellite) imagery is showing some calmer conditions," says FOX Weather Meteorologist Jane Minar. "A lot of that thunderstorm activity has broken down as our cold front that was kind of lingering around the last several days has dissipated."
The NHC has since dropped its odds of formal tropical development to essentially zero.
But even with the weaker overall system, scattered heavy showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast for the next several days.
"While the amounts of rain and the location of the heaviest downpours will ebb and flow over the next week or more, the general weather pattern is forecast to remain in place," says FOX Weather Hurricane Specialst Bryan Norcross. "The heat-dome high-pressure system that has brought scorching temperatures to the western and central U.S. appears locked in. And over the Atlantic, the so-called Bermuda high is not moving very much. The resulting lower pressure in between, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and much of the South, will continue to be an ingredient for off-and-on periods of heavy rain for the foreseeable future."
Those thunderstorms can still bring a rush of flash flooding with rainfall rates reaching 2 to 3 inches per hour. And some of the thunderstorms forming a bit farther north off the shores could become severe with damaging wind gusts the primary threat.
Thunderstorms bring beneficial rain for farmers
Those who will be cheering the rain this week will be farmers along the Gulf Coats who have been dealing with drought conditions this summer.
New Orleans still remains about 6 inches below average for annual rainfall heading into the soggy week.
"This (storm) will dump rain in areas that potentially really could be helpful," Ray says.
Louisiana farmers over toward Lafayette who grow sugar cane and corn have been dealing with severe drought.
"They could use that Southern Soaker for sure," Ray said. "Some of those ag producers could use some of that moving down."