NEW ORLEANS – Tropical Storm Cristobal could soon renew its strength by uniting with another storm system coming from the west to form one giant cyclone, forecasters say.
After drenching much of the South, forecasters now expect the remnants of Cristobal to bring fierce winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms to much of the Midwest by Tuesday.
A very strong storm system sweeping out from the Rocky Mountains is expected to meld with Cristobal in the next couple of days, said Greg Carbin, who oversees forecasts at the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“The two will eventually merge into a large cyclone," Carbin said. “It’s a pretty fascinating interaction we'll see over the next couple of days."
Wind gusts of up to 45 mph (72 kph) are expected in Chicago by Tuesday night, the National Weather Service said. Boaters were being warned of gale-force winds on nearby Lake Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday.
High winds could be felt from Nebraska to Wisconsin, forecasters said. In parts of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, the gusty winds and low humidity will bring the threat of wildfires in areas with dry grass, National Weather Service forecasters warned. Any blazes that start will spread rapidly, they said.
Cristobal weakened into a depression early Monday after inundating coastal Louisiana and ginning up dangerous weather along most of the U.S. Gulf Coast, sending waves crashing over Mississippi beaches, swamping parts of an Alabama island town and spawning a tornado in Florida.
In Louisiana, two boaters were found Monday afternoon in good condition after their boat sank in a deepwater straight near Slidell on Sunday, authorities said.