New Orleans in uncertain five day cone for Cristobal

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The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cristobal could hit somewhere along the US Gulf Coast this weekend into early next week.

"Cristobal is forecast to begin moving northward across the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, and there is a risk of storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts this weekend along portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle."

Federal forecasters say the path is not clear yet, but Louisiana is in the center of the cone of error.

"While it is too soon to determine the exact location, timing, and magnitude of these impacts, interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Cristobal and ensure they have their hurricane plan in place."

However, the Hurricane Center thinks the tropical storm will hit Mexico first.  If it survives that, forecasters believe the system will again move over the Gulf and get stronger again.

"Some strengthening could occur overnight since the cyclone is in a conducive atmospheric and oceanic environment.  However, it now seems likely that the system will make landfall over eastern Mexico on Wednesday which should cause weakening.  Assuming that the center emerges overthe Gulf of Mexico later in the week, some re-intensification is forecast.  However, stronger shear over the northern Gulf should limit the increase in strength."

Furthermore, the Hurricane Center admits having low confidence in the eventual forecast because models spread from one side of the Gulf of Mexico to the other.

"Given the spread in this guidance, there is a significant amount of uncertainty."