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UPDATE: As of 10:00am Saturday morning, TS Lee has max winds of 60 mph, minimum central pressure of 993mb, and is moving North at 6 mph. We are already beginning to see rain bands push into the Pine Belt. Heavy rainfall is expected throughout the weekend with TS Lee expected to exit the region early Tuesday morning.
A Tornado watch also remains in effect for Forrest, George, Greene, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, and Stone counties until 10:00pm. Conditions are favorable for isolated tornados embedded within the stronger rain bands.
UPDATE: As of 10:00pm Friday night TS Lee has max winds of 45 mph, Minimum Central Pressure of 1000mb, and is moving North at 5 mph. The latest model runs only confirm that rain bands will likely cause torrential downpours for the Pine Belt Saturday- Monday. A Flash Flood Watch continues for the majority of the WDAM viewing area.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Tropical Storm Lee will likely bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the Pine Belt over the weekend and into the early part of next weeks.
Flooding is the primary concern for south Mississippi with rainfall predictions of 5-10 inches. Maybe even more in localized areas. Flash flood watches have been initiated by the NWS for the majority of the WDAM viewing area.
The current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center has Lee pushing slowly off towards the north. By Sunday, the tropical storm is expected to make landfall along the central Louisiana coastline before moving slowly over the Pine Belt Monday and Tuesday afternoon as a tropical depression.
Added time over the water will allow for further strengthening. This extremely slow movement may also open the door for other modes of severe weather, including small tornadoes. The projected path for Lee puts the Pine Belt on the northeast side of the storm, generally favored for tornado development. This is something we will closely follow through the weekend.
A lot of uncertainties still exist with this system in the Gulf of Mexico. The amount of time this system stays over the warm Gulf waters before making landfall will greatly determine what sort of wind threat we will have in the Pine Belt.
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