Tropical Storm Nestor Racing Toward Florida Gulf Coast

A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida coast from Yankeetown to Navarre, Florida.

Tropical Storm Nestor is packing sustained winds up to 60 mph — with higher gusts — as it races toward Florida’s Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

The 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Storm Nestor, is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle early Saturday and will bring soaking rain, winds and coastal flooding to parts of the Southeast this weekend.

Tornadoes will also be a threat as Nestor moves inland.

The system is expected to bring heavy winds and rain to Florida’s Panhandle early Saturday. That part of the state is still recovering from  the devastation wrought by thr Category 5 Hurricane Micheal,  which obliterated Mexico Beach in October 2018.

A storm surge warning is in effect from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach, meaning there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline.

Further, a wind advisory has also been issued for portions of the Southeast. A wind advisory means that wind gusts could exceed 40 mph. Tree limbs could be broken and scattered power outages are possible.

Watches and Warnings

A second tornado touched down near Lakeland Regional Airport in central Florida, late Friday evening, stalling traffic on Interstate 4 and toppling a semi. A debris signature was seen on radar around 11 p.m., suggesting that items were being lofted by a tornado.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Water could reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, especially in the predawn and early morning hours on Saturday:

Overall, this rain could be beneficial, given the  flash drought  that has developed over the Southeast.

This system may then move along the mid-Atlantic coast and could bring rain to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast into Sunday night.

Tropical development in the western Gulf of Mexico is certainly not unusual in hurricane season.

It is quite rare this late in the season, though.

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