ST. LOUIS – The third named tropical storm of the season has formed, with landfall projected for the Gulf Coast.
Cristobal was the earliest-ever third named tropical storm to form in the history of the Atlantic hurricane season.
This could be the earliest in the season St. Louis will see tropical storm remnants. The last time we saw a tropical system make its way this far north—and this early—was more than a century ago – June 11, 1901.
For now, the tropical storm has weakened back to a tropical depression.
As Cristobal returns to the gulf, forecasts show the system gaining energy.
“They develop their own environments,” said Jared Maples, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It’ll strengthen into a tropical storm.”
Cristobal is forecasted to make landfall along the Louisiana coastline this weekend as a tropical storm, bringing heavy rain and winds from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.
The storm doesn’t stop on the coast. Current models bring the potential for remnants of heavy rain north into our neighborhood.
“When it hits landfall and it does weaken, it’s going to weaken to a depression or remnants of a depression by the time that it gets this far north,” Maples said.
With the weakening system converging with a cold front over St. Louis early next week, tropical downpours could mean 3 or more inches of rain and give us another flooding situation.
“Flooding is flooding. I know that when we look at videos from the coast we see the hurricanes with 75 mph winds,” Maples said. “But we get flash flooding, we get a real flooding. You would prepare for this no different than you would in a lot of heavy rainfall situations. Just keep abreast of the latest weather conditions and information.”
If we see impacts by Tuesday and Wednesday, records will be set.
“It will be the earliest we have been impacted by a tropical system believe it or not,” Maples said. “It’s typically not this early because of the fact that you still are heating up the gulf and you are going through that process.”
The later season summer heat over the moist Gulf of Mexico allows the storms to strengthen enough to make it into Missouri. But this year, it’s all running ahead of schedule.