Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- A truck kicks up a plume while plowing through the water on a nearly flooded Highland Road at the south gates of LSU as stormy weather hits Baton Rouge in this June 2014 Advocate file photo.

A potentially intense weather system could bring strong to severe thunderstorms to much of the state Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service is calling it a “vigorous storm system” with the highest threats being winds and the possibility of tornadoes.

The weather is predicted to move into Lafayette on Saturday night and then into Baton Rouge by late evening or early Sunday morning. The storm front should hit New Orleans by Sunday morning.

“You can’t rule out a tornado because we have a lot of wind with this (weather system),” said Gavin Phillips, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell.

There also will be 2 to 3 inches of rain associated with the system. Some areas could get up to 5 inches, which could lead to some localized flooding.

The recent dry weather means there’s likely enough capacity for the soil to soak up much of the rain before any major flooding problems occur.

“We fortunately have been kind of dry so we kind of need it,” Phillips said about the rain.

Coastal flood advisories are also in place from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to the mouth of the Mississippi River, which includes areas along Lake Borgne. Tides could be 1 to 2 feet above normal, possibly bringing minor flooding to some areas outside levee systems.

“We urge all Louisiana citizens to pay close attention to your local area forecast and watch for advisories from the National Weather Service, ALERT FM, and your local media,” said Kevin Davis, director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, in a news release Friday. “We must remember, here in Louisiana, we must always be prepared for varying weather events.”

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