Flash flood watch in effect for Pensacola area as Marco approaches Louisiana coast

Kevin Robinson Pensacola News JournalPublished 1:43 PM EDT Aug 24, 2020A flash flood watch is in effect for th

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A flash flood watch is in effect for the Pensacola area until Tuesday morning as Tropical Storm Marco lashes the area with rain and wind.

Marco is expected to continue weakening as the storm spins westward across the Southeast Louisiana coastline.

Still, the Florida Panhandle is expected to see 3 to 6 inches of rainfall, localized flooding and gusty winds of 30 to 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tornadoes are also possible across the Florida Panhandle Monday into Monday evening.

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"The heavier rainfall potential of the storm is now north and east of the center of storm, and that area is near the coastal area of Florida and Alabama," said Don Shepherd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama.

The National Weather Service in Mobile has forecast several rounds of heavy rain, and Shepherd said there could be isolated areas that receive as much as 10 inches of rain in coastal areas.

"As you go inland, the rain chances will decrease," Shepherd said. "By the time you're up near the Florida/Alabama border to your north, you're looking at just 1 to 2 inches. Not everyone will see that rain. We're looking at tight little gradients, so some people might not see as much, and others could see locally, 10 inches or so."

Surf heights are expected to rise to 5 to 7 feet Monday , and there could be 1 to 2 feet of coastal flooding across Northwest Florida.

Although Marco is weakening, Tropical Storm Laura is still forecast to approach Louisiana or the upper Texas coast late Wednesday or early Thursday, potentially as a strong hurricane.

Shepherd said the area should get a break from severe weather Tuesday, then see surf increase again Wednesday and Thursday as Laura moves across the Gulf.

"It looks like that's far enough away that we won't have any heavy rainfall impacts from that, but we still have a chance of showers and thunderstorms each day and for the remainder of the week."

Kevin Robinson can be reached at krobinson4@pnj.com or 850-435-8527.

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