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Tropical Storm Nestor update: Nestor nearing Florida coast with 50 mph winds

Flooding

Tropical Storm Nestor was soaking parts of Florida with heavy rain on Saturday morning as its center neared the coast.

The National Hurricane Center said the center of Nestor will move ashore on the Florida Panhandle later this morning and then track across the Southeast while finishing its transition into a non-tropical system.

Nestor was looking less and less like a tropical storm, with much of its worst weather over the Florida Peninsula and far away from its broad center of circulation, which the hurricane center said has redeveloped farther west on Saturday morning.

The hurricane center said tropical storm force winds are spreading across parts of the Florida Gulf Coast and could cover a large area, especially east of the center.

“Given the non-tropical appearance of Nestor, dangerous storm surge and tropical-storm-force winds will occur along a large portion of the Florida Gulf Coast well east of the track of Nestor’s center today,” forecasters said.

The water has been rising along parts of the Florida coast this morning with up to 3 feet of surge reported so far:

As of the 7 a.m. CDT update, Tropical Storm Nestor was located about 80 miles west-southwest of Panama City, Fla., and was moving northeast at 17 mph.

Nestor had winds of 50 mph, down from 60 mph on Saturday. The hurricane center said no change in strength was expected before the broad center of Nestor reaches the coast later this morning, and it will weaken once its center is inland.

Tropical storm force winds extend up to 160 miles from the center of Nestor, the hurricane center said. The hurricane center said the Tyndall Air Force Base Tower located south of Apalachicola recently reported a sustained wind of 49 mph and a gust to 61 mph (98 km/h) at an elevation of 115 feet.

Tropical storm warnings have been dropped for more of the Florida Panhandle as of Saturday morning:

* A tropical storm warning is now in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton county line to Yankeetown.

* A storm surge warning continues along the Florida coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach.

The hurricane center said storm surge of 3 to 5 feet will be possible from Indian Pass to Chassahowitzka, Fla., and 2 to 4 feet will be possible from Chassahowitzka to Clearwater Beach.

Areas along Tampa Bay could also see 1 to 3 feet of surge, forecasters said.

The hurricane center said a National Ocean Service tide gauge at Apalachicola recently measured a water level of 3.2 feet above mean higher high water.

Two to 4 inches of rain will be possible across parts Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, with isolated areas getting up to 8 inches.

A few tornadoes will also be possible in central Florida today, and that threat will spread northward to coastal Georgia and the Carolinas later today and tonight.

As for Alabama, rain from Nestor was tracking across part of south Alabama on Saturday morning but all tropical storm warnings have been dropped for the coast.

A wind advisory has been issued for Houston County in southeast Alabama, which is closest to where the center may come ashore.

The National Weather Service said winds could reach 20 to 30 mph today with gusts up to 40 mph.

Scattered rain, heavy at times, will be possible for more of the state through the day, with southeast Alabama likely getting the most.

 

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