(NEW YORK) -- A state of emergency was declared in Louisiana on Wednesday as severe weather threatens the Gulf of Mexico.
The tropical moisture, which has already triggered heavy rain and flash flood warnings in New Orleans Wednesday morning, is expected to intensify into a tropical depression by Thursday morning.
It could then develop into Tropical Storm Barry, or even a category 1 hurricane by the weekend.
A tropical storm watch and storm surge watch have been issued for the southeast part of the state.
"This is going to be a Louisiana event with coastal flooding and widespread, heavy rainfall potentially impacting every part of the state," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. "No one should take this storm lightly. As we know all too well in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact."
"Now is the time to check your emergency supplies and get a game-plan for your family and pets," Edwards said.
The system is expected to make landfall in western Louisiana on Saturday, with the worst of the conditions hitting Friday night through Sunday morning.
Tornadoes are possible when the storm reaches Louisiana.
"We all need to take this very, very seriously," Edwards said at a news conference Wednesday morning.
Regardless of how intense the storm may become, heavy rain is expected from the Florida Panhandle to the upper Texas coast and is forecast to extend inland into Louisiana, eastern Texas and the the lower Mississippi Valley.
Edwards warned that Louisiana could see as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain over a 24 hour period.
"We're not sure yet of the exact track of the storm, or the strength of the potential tropical system once it makes landfall. However we're confident that there will be widespread heavy rainfall and coastal flooding," he said. "We could have heavy rain not just over the weekend but into next week."
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