The distance in air miles between Lafayette, Louisiana and Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean Sea is a little over 1,000 miles. That means the center of circulation for dangerous Category Three Hurricane Beryl is more than 1,000 miles away from Louisiana's coastline.

But ask anyone who lives in hurricane country, they'll tell you that 1,000 miles is too close. And right now with track forecast uncertainties many residents of coastal Louisiana are still very uneasy about Beryl and where the storm might go.

The graphic above is the 0500 A.M. position plot for the storm's center of circulation. That center was situation about 100 miles or so southeast of Grand Cayman Island. The storm brushed by Jamaica on Wednesday. As you might imagine, damage is still being assessed and flooding rains are still falling over many parts of that island nation.

Beryl's next stop is another popular vacation destination. That would be the Riviera Maya or the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane Warnings have already been posted for the Yucatan. Below is the latest forecast track graphic for the Beryl.

The storm has been downgraded to a Category 3 Hurricane. That is still a major hurricane according to the Saffir-Simpson scale. Further weakening of the storm is forecast and based on the most recent discussion issued by the Hurricane Center it appears as though Beryl will be a Category 1 storm when it arrives on the Mexican coast early Friday morning.

After Beryl crosses the Yucatan it will emerge into the Bay of Campeche or the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Model guidance is not consistent as to whether Beryl will strengthen to a hurricane again or eventually cross the coast as a strong tropical storm. The current track projections do suggest a landfall in extreme northeastern Mexico or extreme southern Texas in the nighttime hours of Sunday.

There is still some concern that Beryl could take a more northerly track and that would create issues for the upper Texas and Louisiana coast but model guidance is fairly succinct on the notion that northern Mexico will take the landfall. But remember, models are models, they are not official forecasts so don't let the models guide your important storm decisions in this storm or any tropical situation.

For Louisiana on this Fourth of July heat will be the bigger issue. There are significant rain chances forecast for the area as well. Believe it or not, there is a cold front that is affecting our forecast even more than Beryl is this morning. That front combined with the daytime heating will produce numerous showers across the region later this afternoon.

Rain threats for the next several days could produce flooding in some parts of Louisiana. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Lake Charles released this graphic that shows southwestern Louisiana could experience rainfall totals of seven inches or more over the next seven days.

I am sure at least some of that rainfall will be attributed to the influence of Beryl or the remnants of the storm.  In the meantime, do what you can do to stay cool and avoid the excessive heat because when it's not raining, it's going to be too hot to be outside anyway.

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells