potential cyclone 2 forms in Gulf, no threat to Pinellas

Potential tropical cyclone 2 formed Tuesday morning and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane by Friday. On its current forecast track, it is expected to make landfall along the Louisiana coast on Saturday or Sunday.

The second potential tropical cyclone of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season formed Wednesday morning about 170 miles east southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts that it will strengthen into a depression or Tropical Storm Barry sometime on Thursday and become a hurricane on Friday.

Maximum sustained winds were 30 mph. Winds need to increase to 39 mph for it to be classified as a tropical storm and 74 mph to become a Category 1 hurricane.

The potential cyclone was moving west southwest at 8 mph. Its path takes it west along the Gulf coast. The storm poses no threat to Pinellas County or Tampa Bay. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from the mouth of the Pearl River to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Morgan City, Louisiana.

NHC says interests elsewhere the U.S. Gulf Coast from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle should monitor the progress of this system.

Pinellas County forecast

Rainy weather will continue locally with a 70% chance today, dropping to 40% on Thursday. Flooding is possible in low-lying areas with poor drainage as well as on roadways. Pinellas County Emergency Management reminds the public to avoid walking or driving in areas with high water.

A high rip tide current risk is in effect through Friday evening due to increasing wave action.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore and occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and near structures, such as groins, jetties and piers. The public is advised to swim near a lifeguard and to pay attention to flags and signs.

The National Weather Service says if you are caught in a rip current, yell of help and remain calm. Swim parallel to shore and back to the beach as possible. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current.