TROPICAL storms churning off the Gulf Coast are expected to force millions of Southerners to brace for a mix of violent tornadoes, flooding and gales.
The downpour of rainfall and severe winds whipping up twisters on Friday has placed more than 7million residents in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Alabama among others on high alert.
Gusts increased 35 to 45 mph as the northbound tempest was preparing to make landfall and batter the US Gulf Coast.
"Landfall is expected later tonight, with the center moving near or over New Orleans on Saturday morning," CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
But already on Friday night, The National Hurricane Center reported a double dose of wind and rain have already begun hammering various swaths along the northern Gulf Coast.
The center reported that “several oil rigs off the coast of southeastern Louisiana have recently reported sustained winds of 40-45 mph."
If the tropical storm materializes into a cyclone it will be named Claudette.
Louisiana, which has already been ravaged by storms in the recent past, has already declared a statement emergency.
“According to the National Weather Service (NWS), rainfall will be the biggest threat,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “In addition to heavy rains, there is also a threat of coastal flooding, tropical storm force winds and isolated tornadoes.
The tropical system has forced warnings to be made in municipalities throughout in Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle, the coast of Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Louisiana including Lake Pontchartrain and Metropolitan New Orleans, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The oil company Chevron isn’t taking chances.
They’ve already recalled non-essential workers from a variety of Gulf of Mexico offshore operations ahead of the potential tropical storm.
"In preparation for the tropical weather, we have transported all non-essential personnel from our Chevron-operated Big Foot, Jack / St. Malo, and Tahiti platforms. All personnel on our Genesis facility have also been moved onshore," a Chevron spokesperson told CNN.
Millions of people are under flash flood watches - especially of southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, central to northern Georgia, far western North Carolina and western South Carolina are bracing to get soaked with precipitation reaching 3 to 7 inches, according to the hurricane center’s latest advisory.
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The tally could actually increase to between 4 and 8 inches and as high as a whole foot in the central Gulf Coast.
In May, Louisiana was battered by surging floods brought on by rain and confirmed four people died.
And the state had still recovered after being hit with more deaths after Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta hit.
The punishing weather has forced plans in Mississippi to celebrate June 19 - known as Juneteenth, which Congress voted to become a national holiday, to be postponed and or completely canceled.