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Tropical disturbance could impact Pike

A tropical disturbance developing in the Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain along with a low threat of moderately strong winds and isolated tornadic activity.

EMA Director Herb Reeves said the latest information on Invest92L, which would be named Barry if it develops into a tropical storm, shows a 90 percent chance that it will become a tropical depression by Thursday.

“For us, the National Weather Service in Mobile is saying there will probably be some heavy rain with chances of wind and a low probability of tornadic activity,” Reeves said. “It looks right now like it’s going to push west more so than coming back u towards us.”

The NWS reports that the conditions favor the system strengthening rapidly as it moves west. Rainfall chances increase Thursday into Friday as the system approaches.

“People just need to be aware of this,” Reeves said. “I’m not sure how many people are paying attention since it isn’t even a tropical depression yet. But you just have to stay aware that the possibility is there for some sever weather.”

The storm is forecast to move ashore in Louisiana Saturday, although tracks are continuously being updated.

This storm signals the beginning of the hurricane season, with each of the last two seasons having an impact on Pike County.

Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida last year as the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the contiguous U.S. since 1992. It devastated portions of Florida including Mexico Beach and Panama City. The storm also brought damage and destruction as close as Houston County and continued to wreak havoc as it moved into Georgia.

Two years ago, Hurricane Irma hit Florida, driving many evacuees north to seek refuge in Troy and Pike County. Although the storm had limited impacts in Pike County, the amount of evacuee traffic had an effect. And several times, the county has braced for the possibility of a stronger impact before the hurricanes ultimately drifted, sparing Pike from the brunt of the storm.

“The last year or so we seem to have been right on the edge of most of these storm systems,” Reeves said.

Reeves said residents need to be prepared to watch the weather again as hurricane season progresses, with the heightened threat of formation wrapping up around the end of November.