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The Gulf Coast first tropical storm of the 2021 hurricane season was issued Thursday night. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are monitoring a low-pressure system that is building momentum and it could become Claudette, the third tropical storm of the 2021 season. Forecasters are expecting very intense rain and high tide. A flood warning was issued for the Mississippi Gulf Coast region with specific concern for Hancock and Harrison Counties (the same area that is still recovering from the catastrophic damage it faced after Hurricane Katrina in 2005). The region faces tropical storm force winds, waterspouts or isolated tornadoes, and coastal flooding as the system passes over. Although a hurricane is unlikely, the region could have 20 to 30 mph winds and high tides between 1 and 3 feet. Over the weekend, projections say Mississippi could see thunderstorms and up to 20 inches of rain because tropical storms can release large amounts of precipitation after they reach landfall. The storm is expected to move onshore by Saturday but that depends on the size, strength, and track of the system. Authorities warn that just like hurricanes, the main threat is water because as the storm makes landfall it has the potential to drench coastal cities and lead to deadly situations. For now, here’s what you can do: 1) watch the weather projections on social media, TV, or radio, 2) get the supplies you need such as food, water, and a flashlight with working batteries, 3) stay in a safe place until the storm passes over sometime Sunday. Next week, I’ll have more information about the 2021 Hurricane Season to keep you and your family safe.

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