A tropical storm making its way to southwestern Louisiana this week remains a possibility, according to the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.

The NWS said a tropical depression or storm is expected to develop today or Thursday over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. This system will drift to the west with an increasing threat for damaging winds, deadly storm surge and flooding rains in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana by the weekend.

Donald Jones with the NWS said Tuesday evening that it was expected the formation would develop into a tropical storm or depression sometime today or Thursday.

“It could get as high as a category 1 hurricane,” Jones said. “We’re not saying that’s going to be the case but it is a possibility.”

This system has the potential to become a dangerous hurricane, according to the statement.

Since the system has not developed yet, there is still considerable uncertainty to the exact timing, magnitude and location of the threats, according to a statement from the NWS.

The National Weather Service advises people to continue to monitor the weather this week. The NWS estimated that Iberia Parish would feel the storm’s full strength Saturday or Saturday evening, according to the Iberia Parish Department of Homeland Security.

Due to the potential chance of heavy rains, Iberia Parish President Larry Richard announced the availability of sand bags at BOM Fire Station, Grand Marais Fire Station, Coteau Fire Station, Rynella Fire Station, Delcambre City Barn, Loreauville Park, Lydia Fire Station and the intersection of Church Street and Bourgeois Drive in a second.

Shovels will not be provided and residents should be ready to fill their own sand bag.

FEMA advises local residents reduce the risk of damage from flooding by elevating critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances and heating systems.

In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the entire structure and make sure basements are waterproofed and sump pumps are working. Then, install a battery-operated backup in case of power failure.

Clearing debris from gutters and downspouts is recommended. All fuel tanks should be anchored. Furniture and valuables should be kept in a safe place and emergency supply kids should be available as well.

Visit Ready.gov for a complete disaster supply checklist.

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