TD Nine To Hits Just North Of Tampa
Tropical Depression Nine, still fighting wind shear, may finally gain enough steam to become a tropical storm early today, then will make its turn toward the Gulf Coast, by late tonight, with heavy rain and gusty winds. The system could also produce coastal flooding and isolated tornadoes.
Forecasters predicted the storm would most likely make landfall in the state’s Big Bend or Nature Coast areas as early as Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon, packing winds as strong as 65 mph.
Winds in the Tampa Bay area likely will reach only 25 to 35 mph, but the storm could dump anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of rain in some areas areas, according to the National Weather Service. At present the storm seems to be mirroring the path of Tropical Storm Debby, which caused extensive flooding throughout north and central Florida in 2012.
— Anaridis Rodriguez (@Anaridis) August 31, 2016
A hurricane watch has been issued for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Anclote River Indian Pass. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Florida Gulf Coast west of Indian Pass to the Walton/Bay County line.
According to Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth, the system could bring a storm surge of up to 3 feet to the areas between Apalachicola and Tampa in northwestern Florida.
“But there could be a few spots that could go up to 4 or 5 [feet] and this part of this coastline is susceptible to flooding,” he added.
After that, the storm would head across Florida and “brush the entire Southeast coastline with rain, beach erosion and windy conditions on Friday,” according to NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.
As of 5 a.m. ET, a hurricane watch was in effect from Florida’s Anclote River to Indian Pass — with a tropical storm warning in effect from the former to the Walton/Bay County line.
The system was forecast to become a tropical storm by early Tuesday and could be named either Hermine or Ian, depending on whether it forms before Tropical Depression Eight, which was in the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast.