Potential Tropical Cyclone Three remains "poorly organized" Thursday night as it moves over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding.
It will likely be Tropical Storm Claudette -- the third named storm of the season -- over the next 24 hours.
The system is located about 435 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center's 11 p.m. advisory. It has maximum sustained winds of 30 mph and is moving north at 9 mph.
NHC forecasters think winds will max out at 45 mph on Saturday morning when it makes landfall on the coast of Louisiana.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border.
Heavy rainfall and flooding will likely be the most significant hazard, with the storm reaching the coast beginning on Friday, forecasters said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards late Thursday issued a state of emergency due to the potential weather threats. The move is an administrative step that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in storm response efforts, the governor's office said.
The storm is expected to produce total rainfall of 3-6 inches with isolated amounts of 8 inches across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, according to the forecast.
Rainfall totals of 4-8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend from the Central Gulf Coast northeastward into the Southern Appalachians.
The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline, the hurricane center said. The water could reach the heights of several feet.
Meteorologists expect the 2021 Atlanta hurricane season to be busy, but not as crazy as the record-breaking 2020 season.