The latest on the tropical system headed toward the Gulf.

It looks like a tropical depression is forming off the Gulf Coast and forecasters say it could turn into a hurricane. According to the National Hurricane Center, there's an 80-percent chance a tropical depression will form by the end of this week. That means people from eastern Louisiana to western Florida should be on alert for heavy downpours and a higher risk of flooding later this week and into the weekend.  

Tropical Weather Outlook

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL

800 AM EDT Tue Jul 9 2019

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

1. A broad low pressure system located over the eastern Florida

Panhandle is producing disorganized shower activity. The low is

forecast to move southward to southwestward and emerge over the

northeastern Gulf of Mexico later today. Once the system is over

water, environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for

tropical cyclone formation, and a tropical depression is likely to

develop by late Wednesday or Thursday while the system moves

westward across the northern Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of whether

or not a tropical cyclone forms, this system has the potential to

produce heavy rainfall along portions of the northern and eastern

U.S. Gulf Coast later this week. For more information about the

rainfall threat, please see products issued by your local weather

forecast office and the NOAA Weather Prediction Center. Interests

along the Gulf Coast from the Upper Texas coast to the western

Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of this system.

* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...50 percent.

* Formation chance through 5 days...high...80 percent.

A heat advisory that had been focused on western Mississippi has been expanded to the east to cover a larger part of the state today. The National Weather Service now says the afternoon heat index could reach 110 in dozens of counties from Southaven to Natchez, in metro Jackson and in the east from Columbus to Meridian. Forecasters say the southeastern part of the state which is not covered by the heat advisory has the best chance of seeing some rain today to cool things off but even there the showers will be isolated.

State leaders are getting creative when it comes to addressing Mississippi's teacher shortage. Yesterday, the head of the education department announced a new campaign called, "Teach Mississippi" to help attract future educators. Part of the initiative involves other teachers telling their stories about why they do their jobs. Speaking at an education conference in Jackson yesterday, state schools Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright blamed the shortage on teacher salaries. According to US News and World Report, Mississippi had the lowest teacher pay in the country for the 2017-2018 school year, at an average of 45-thousand-dollars per year. The national average was more than 60-thousand. 

The former chief of Lumberton's police department is now suing the city, claiming he was forced out due to religious discrimination. Carlus Page told WJTV-TV that when he accepted the role last year, he was given permission to take every Sunday off to preach at a Biloxi church. But, he claims he later suffered social media slander from elected officials over his role as a preacher, and was eventually demoted to a part-time patrol officer. He says the department scheduled him every Sunday, despite his prior arrangement. Page is now suing the city of Lumberton for back wages and his old chief position. So far, the city is not commenting. 

Still no sign of those two prison escapees in Rankin County. There was a massive manhunt yesterday south of Pearl after the prison clothing that Jonathan Blankenship and Christopher High were wearing was found in a warehouse. It looks like they spent the weekend there after being reported missing from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility Friday morning.

Narcotics agents in Mississippi are always on the lookout for marijuana growing operations. But they could soon be facing some uncertainty if the state legalizes industrial hemp cultivation. Bureau of Narcotics director John Dowdy says it's hard to tell the difference between a field of hemp and a field of marijuana. Dowdy is part of a task force that'll make recommendations to the legislature on whether to legalize hemp cultivation. State Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson heads the task force and says almost a hundred products can be made from hemp. He says it has the potential of becoming a significant crop for Mississippi farmers.

Your watch is filthy … Whether it’s an Apple Watch, Fitbit or just plain old wristwatch, if you wear one every day, it’s full of germs. In fact, according to experts, your watch could have three times the amount of bacteria found on a common toilet seat. Time to start washing your watch. (The Ladders)

Today is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A, and that means free chicken. The only catch is that you have to wear a cow costume. If you don't have a full cow costume, it's OK, cow-themed clothing and accessories will likely be acceptable.  

For a unique take on your local/national news daily, check out "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":

 

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