NEW ORLEANS – Emergency teams were activated as residents along the Gulf of Mexico prepared to get hit with another round of tropical weather for the second time in less than a month.
Tropical Storm Edouard gained speed as it moved west Monday and was expected to strengthen to a near-hurricane before making landfall somewhere in Texas or southwest Louisiana.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River westward to Cameron, La. A hurricane watch was in effect from west of Intracoastal City, La. to Port O'Connor, Texas.
Edouard had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph with higher gusts at 5 a.m. EDT Monday. The storm's center was located about 185 miles southwest of Lafayette, La., and 295 miles east-southeast of Galveston, Texas.
It was moving west at 9 mph and was expected to strengthen before making landfall Tuesday morning. Forecasters said the warm waters of the Gulf provided the right conditions for the storm to intensify and approach hurricane strength with winds of 75 mph or more.
Southeastern Texans prepared for Edouard's impact while the victims farther down the Texas coast continued cleaning up the damage from Hurricane Dolly, which hit last month.
Krista Piferrer, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said Sunday that state emergency management officials were getting updates through conference calls with the National Weather Service.
Texas began activating a number of emergency teams Sunday afternoon, including calling up 1,200 Texas military forces and six UH-60 helicopters, the State Operations Center said. The Texas Forest Service and the Texas Engineering and Extension Service activated response teams.
State emergency management officials were also conducting conference calls with officials from communities along the Texas coast, from Port O'Connor to Port Arthur, that could be affected by Edouard.
Rainfall of 2 to 4 inches was expected in coastal Louisiana. About 3 to 5 inches was possible in southeast Texas, with isolated amounts up to 8 inches. Tides of 2 to 4 feet above normal levels were expected in parts of the warning area.
In Louisiana's Terrebonne Parish, emergency director Jerry Richard said he had called in staff members to determine if the parish's low-lying areas could be affected by flooding.
They planned to monitor the storm through Sunday night. State emergency officials did not immediately return calls seeking details on emergency plans.
Many of the Gulf's offshore oil and natural gas drilling platforms sit in the storm's path.
Shell Oil Co. had not made any operational changes Sunday afternoon, but company officials were watching the storm closely, spokesman Shawn Wiggins said.
ExxonMobil Corp. had not evacuated any workers or cut production by Sunday evening, but the company was preparing its platforms for heavy wind and rain and considering whether to evacuate some workers, spokeswoman Margaret Ross said in an e-mail statement.