The storm, which is expected to strengthen into a Tropical Cyclone 3, is forecast to hit Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, according to Asia Despatch meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
Nearly 6 million people are under a tropical storm warning from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and New Orleans.
Another 5 million people are under a flash flood watch along inland Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.
Louisiana activates crisis action team
The storm is expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coastline Friday overnight into Saturday morning.
After landfall, the storm will weaken and head to the northeast, hitting Montgomery, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina, Shackelford predicted.
The oil company Chevron Corp. said it has pulled non-essential workers from some Gulf of Mexico offshore operations ahead of the potential tropical weather.
“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,” Chevron spokesperson Tyler Kruzich told Asia Despatch in a statement.
In Louisiana, the weather threat has become all-too familiar.
“In addition to heavy rains, there is also a threat of coastal flooding, tropical storm force winds and isolated tornadoes,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in the statement Thursday. “The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) has activated its Crisis Action Team and stands ready to support our local partners with any emergency resources needed beyond parish capabilities.”
Asia Despatch’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.