Published: Sat, October 19, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Nestor Forms, Targets Florida Panhandle

TROPICS: Tropical Storm Nestor Forms, Targets Florida Panhandle

Heavy rains are spreading over parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Nestor approaches the Florida Panhandle. It's now moving northeast at 22 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds at 60 miles per hour.

Regardless of whether a cyclone forms, risky storm surge, strong winds and heavy rain are expected to hit the warning areas Friday evening and Saturday, the hurricane center says.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Navarre, Florida, to Yankeetown, Florida. At 1:00 PM, the center of Tropical Storm Nestor was located near latitude 26.3 North, longitude 89.5 West. Nestor is moving toward the northeast near 22 miles per hour, and this general motion is expected to continue through Sunday, followed by a turn toward the east-northeast by early Monday.

The storm surge watch has been changed to a storm surge warning from indian pass, Florida to clearwater beach, Florida.

Moving off the eastern coast of Mexico, the low pressure system was likely to develop into a tropical or subtropical system before Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is forecast to weaken after landfall as it crosses through Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

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Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for southeastern Louisiana and the northern Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Mississippi line to the Big Bend area of Florida.

The greatest chance for impacts will be along the coastal areas with tropical storm force winds possible and isolated flash flooding.

The system could dump from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain from the central Gulf Coast to the eastern Carolinas, where many areas are dried out from weeks without rain, and as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) in spots, forecasters said. And heavy rains had already began pelting parts of the coastline Friday evening, welcome relief for a parched region dealing with a drought.

In New Orleans, winds hampered crews that were trying to place explosives to topple to damaged construction cranes towering over a partially collapse hotel project at the edge of the French Quarter.

A tropical storm could bring as much as 3 inches of rain on the Florida Panhandle coast and as much as 1.5 inches inland.

Many possible projections of the storm's path make landfall in northern Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed in its storm model.

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