A United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket is scheduled for liftoff tonight after a technical problem forced the mission to be scrubbed Thursday.
Tonight’s 40-minute launch window opens at 7:48 p.m. from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The rocket is carrying a Space Based Infrared System satellite into geosynchronous orbit to provide “persistent infrared surveillance.”
The 45th Weather Squadron said the biggest concerns for tonight’s launch are a possible build up of cumulus clouds. But forecasters said the weather is 90 percent favorable for a launch.
Partly cloudy skies are forecast for South Florida tonight, giving residents a chance to see the rocket liftoff.
Check the ULA website for updated information on the launch or follow it on Twitter.
#AtlasV#SBIRS GEO Flight 4 mission was scrubbed today due to a ground issue associated with the booster liquid oxygen system. Launch is planned for Friday, Jan. 19. The forecast shows a 90% chance of favorable weather for launch. The launch time is 7:48 p.m. ET. pic.twitter.com/BWbg6iJJjM
An ambitious project to protect Treasure Coast waterways from rashes of damaging algae reached its first benchmark last week, meeting a deadline as tight as a gator’s bite, but now faces critics who decry it as shortsighted and discriminatory against the Miccosukee Indian Tribe.
The billion-dollar plan, slated for state-owned land in western Palm Beach County, includes sending Lake Okeechobee overflow into an above-ground bowl formed by berms up to 37-feet high to reduce freshwater discharges into the brackish ecosystems of the St. Lucie Estuary.
It is also touted as a partial answer to environmentalists’ refrain to send the water south into the greater Everglades — the natural path before man scarred Florida’s revered River of Grass with canals, roads and homes cut into marshland.
That watershed feeds into the lands of the Miccosukee, who fear receiving harmful nutrient-laden water tainted by agriculture north of the lake.
The tribe sent a letter to South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Ernie Marks the same day the district’s proposal was due to state lawmakers saying the plan — mandated by legislation passed in 2017 — discriminates against the Miccosukee in favor of the Treasure Coast.
“Clearly, the purpose of the legislation is to reduce the high volume of polluted water from being discharged into the northern estuaries,” wrote Billy Cypress, tribe chairman. “While we do advocate for ‘shared adversity,’ it seems time after time, the only adversity is that which is imposed on Tribal lands.”
8 p.m. update: An area of low pressure has developed near the northeastern coast of Florida between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine with near gale-force winds. There’s a 20 percent chance it will development into a tropical cyclone due to unfavorable upper-level winds.
However, gusty winds and locally heavy rains are likely over portions of northeastern Florida and
southeastern Georgia tonight and Sunday.
2 p.m. update: Heavy rainfall will likely continue over portions of western Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the Florida peninsula during the next several days while a large low-pressure system moves generally westward.
The trough of low pressure extends from the Yucatan peninsula northeastward across the eastern Gulf of Mexico to a weak low over north Florida. Environmental conditions are not conducive for development
and tropical cyclone formation is not anticipated.
In Palm Beach County, there’s a 20 percent chance of rain tonight under mostly cloudy skies. Expect lows in the upper 70s and southeast winds around 5 mph.
On Sunday, the forecast calls for a mostly cloudy morning and partly sunny afternoon with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.
The high will be in the upper 80s, with easterly winds around 10 to 15 mph, according to the forecast.
The chance of a tropical system forming over Florida in the next 48 hours has decreased to 20 percent, but stormy conditions are still possible over the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Environmental conditions have become less favorable for tropical development, but locally heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are forecast in the next several days over portions of western Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the Florida peninsula.
Today there is a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms with a southeast wind 5 to 11 mph. Skies will be partly sunny, with high temperatures near 88. Afternoon thunderstorms could bring rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, according to the National Weather Service.
Tonight the chance of rain decreases to 40 percent with mostly cloudy skies. On Sunday, there is a 50 percent chance of rain with mostly cloudy skies. Wind gusts could reach up to 20 mph with temperatures reaching 88.
Update 8 p.m.: The weak low-pressure area over Florida is interacting with an upper-level low to produce a large but disorganized area of cloudiness and showers extending from the northwestern Caribbean northward through most of the state, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Environmental conditions appear to be marginally conducive for some additional development before the upper-level winds become unfavorable early next week, according to the center’s 8 p.m. tropical weather outlook. The chance of a tropical system forming over the next five days is 40 percent.
Regardless of development, the system is likely to produce locally heavy rainfall over portions of western Cuba, the Florida Keys, and the Florida peninsula during the next several days while the system moves northwestward to northward, according to the NHC. The next tropical outlook will be issued at 2 a.m.
In Palm Beach County: Rain likely tonight, Saturday
Showers are likely through the night in Palm Beach County under mostly cloudy skies, according to the National Weather Service forecast. The chance of rain is 70 percent. Expect lows in the mid-70s and southerly winds around 5 to 10 mph.
On Saturday, the forecast calls for partly sunny skies in the morning, then mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Look for highs in the upper 80s and southeast winds around 10 to 15 mph.
11 p.m. UPDATE: Former Tropical Storm Harvey has degenerated into a tropical wave as it moves quickly toward the west near 22 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph.
No additional advisories will be issued unless regeneration occurs or if tropical cyclone watches or warnings are required for land areas. The remnants are expected to move westward across the central Caribbean Sea on Sunday and across the western Caribbean Sea toward Central America on Monday.
8 p.m. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Harvey has weakened to a depression as it speeds west through the Caribbean at 22 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory.
At 5 p.m., Harvey’s center was about 225 miles north-northwest of Curacao with top sustained winds around 35 mph. Some slow strengthening is possible during the next couple of days, and Harvey could regain tropical storm status Sunday.
A turn toward the west-northwest is expected Sunday night or Monday. On the current track, the center of Harvey will move across the central and western Caribbean Sea through Monday. The next advisory will be issued at 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms remain disorganized near a trough of low pressure a couple of hundred miles north of the northern Leeward Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. There’s now a 20 percent chance of development, down from 30 percent at 2 p.m.
Environmental conditions are not expected to be conducive for development during the next couple days while it moves west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph. It still could develop as it nears the northern Bahamas or Florida around the middle of next week. The next tropical outlook will be at 2 a.m.
2 p.m. UPDATE: The low pressure system about 250 miles north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms, but its chance of development over the next five days has been lowered to 30 percent. The system is moving west-northwestward at about 20 mph, and it could become more organized early next week when it nears the Bahamas. The next tropical outlook will be at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Harvey is hanging on to tropical storm status as it loses its organization and heads west through the central and western Caribbean Sea. Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph as it speeds along at 22 mph. Watches may be required later today for portions of northern Nicaragua, northern Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The next advisory from the National Weather Service will be issued at 5 p.m.
The system’s tropical storm-force winds, which extend up to 80 miles from its center, are not expected to have any affect on land as Gert makes a slow northeast turn and spirals farther north into the Atlantic.
Forecasters earlier in the day had predicted the storm would strengthen — and they expect it will grow more over the next day or two, according to the Hurricane Center’s Sunday evening advisory.
In the Pacific Ocean, forecasters are keeping an eye on the remains of Hurricane Franklin, now known as Tropical Depression Jova. That system has top winds of 30 mph and, like its Atlantic cousin Gert, is not expected to make landfall. Jova was forecast to dwindle to a remnant low overnight Sunday into Monday.
They are using new maps from the National Hurricane Center in making those decisions. Those maps debuted during Hurricane Hermine, which hit Florida’s panhandle as a Category 1 storm in August.
“Historically speaking, stormsurge is the biggest reason for deaths in a hurricane or tropical cyclone,” said Jamie Rhome, stormsurge specialist for the National Hurricane Center. “Our wind-based warnings are really good, so now we are just trying to advance our surge-based products.”
In a worse-case scenario, Palm Beach County could see between 3 and 6 feet of storm surge above dry ground. Areas in the Space Coast, including Kennedy Space Center, could see more than 9 feet of storm surge above dry ground.
Rhome said there’s no rigid benchmark for when the maps will be issued with each individual storm, but that typically they accompany either wind-based watches or warnings.
“Anything that can be done to communicate better is an improvement,” said Hugh Willoughby, a retired 27-year veteran of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane division and a professor at Florida International University. “They want people to know that you don’t want to be somewhere that will be underwater.”
Between 1963 and 2012, 49 percent of tropical cyclone deaths were stormsurge related. Another 27 percent were attributed to rain accumulation. Just 8 percent of deaths were from wind.
Update 11 p.m.: Hurricane Hemine was nearing landfall, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday night. The storm was about 40 miles east of Apalachicola with sustained winds of 80 mph.
Hermine gained strength Thursday evening as it roared toward Florida’s Gulf Coast, churning up pounding surf that battered docks and boathouses as people braced for the first direct hit on the state from a hurricane in over a decade.
The storm’s landfall was expected late Thursday or early Friday in the Big Bend area — the mostly rural and lightly populated corner where the Florida peninsula meets the Panhandle — then drop back down to a tropical storm and push into Georgia, the Carolinas and up the East Coast with the potential for drenching rain and deadly flooding.
Update 9:30 p.m.: With Hurricane Hermine targeting just east of Apalachicola for a late-night or early-morning landfall, streets in this historic oyster city were largely deserted by nightfall.
Winds gusted to over 40 mph and squally, heavy rain pelted Apalachicola through most of the evening. But hurricane-force winds still seemed hours away.
By 9 p.m., a couple of power outages darkened some neighborhoods.
Still, water rose at a bayfront park to bring boats, rocking at anchor, almost to ground level. On the city’s waterfront, the aptly named Water Street was marred by wide swaths of standing water, forcing TV crews — about the only people out on the street– to navigate their way to live shots.
Palm fronds and even a few campaign signs leftover from Tuesday’s primary were scattered in some front yards. But a few restaurants continued to serve a scattering of customers in downtown restaurants, although every other shop in the tourist and fishing town had been shuttered for most of the day.
Update 9 p.m.: Conditions are rapidly deteriorating along the Big Bend coast as Hurricane Hermine approaches, the National Weather Service’s office in Tallahassee reports.
Winds have started to increase near Tallahassee and there are reports of power outages, the weather service said. Tornadoes are possible from the bands Hermine , forecasters say. The storm was about 40 miles southeast of Apalachicola with sustained winds of 80 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 9 p.m. update.
Update 8 p.m.: Hurricane Hermine continues to gain strength as the storm moves closer making landfall.
As of 8 p.m., Hermine had sustained winds of 80 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was 45 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola moving north-northeast at 14 mph. Hermine is forecast to make landfall late tonight or early Friday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward to 45 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.
The minimum central pressure reported by the Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 983 mb, the hurricane center said.
Update 5 p.m.: Hurricane Hermine is becoming better organized and is forecast to have 80 mph winds at landfall later tonight or early tomorrow morning.
National Hurricane Center forecasters cautioned that Hermine was an asymmetrical storm, with a “large extent of dangerous winds, life-threatening storm surge, and flooding rains, well to the east and southeast of the path of the center.”
As of 5 p.m., Hermine was 85 miles south of Apalachicola moving north-northeast at 14 mph. It’s minimum central pressure was 988 mb.
Across Florida’s Big Bend, many residents and business owners took Hurricane Hermine in stride – but also conceded they were worried, as sheets of rain intensified and the wind picked up toward evening Thursday.
Some reflected on the last time the region was socked by a storm. It was Hurricane Dennis in 2005, which caused widespread destruction when high winds propelled gulf water miles inland, across marshy lowlands and into homes and stores.
“What are you going to do? You’ve just got to ride it out and hope it goes a little further east of here,” said Carson Ulrich, owner of a gas station and store in Lanark, on U.S. 98, the coastal highway that hugs the Gulf of Mexico.
“The previous owner of this place got wiped out by that storm in 2005. No insurance. That’s how we wound up buying it,” Ulrich said.
He eyed the rising water at a boat ramp just in back of his store. Ulrich said he was certain he’d be flooded by the time he returns to work Friday.
I’ll put some sand bags at the front door. But around here, we’ve all seen this before,” he added.
In nearby Carrabelle, Ron Gempel, 73, grew up in West Palm Beach, but has owned a sandwich shop in the fishing town for the past dozen years. On Thursday, he and some helpers were covering the shop’s front windows with plywood.
Next door, the town’s only hardware store had already closed and sandbagged its front door.
“You’d think they could be open and selling stuff today,” Gempel said. “But it’s an old-time family business here. They know when it’s time to get out of the way of a storm.”
Gempel said there was little anyone could do but prepare, and cleanup when Hermine moved on.
“Anyone who chooses to live here knows the score,” Gempel said. “I can go kayaking right down the street some days. Other days, you’ve got a hurricane to deal with.”
With Labor Day weekend approaching, many in the area mourned the loss of business from tourists. Evacuations had already been ordered on St. George Island, a popular vacation spot, and many visitors weren’t sticking around to stop in neighboring towns, where the faltering fishing industry has given way to bike rental shops, latte bars and even customized dog biscuit emporiums.
Don Ward, who recently opened Slice of Apalachicola, stared out the broad windows of his restaurant at the rain pelting down on a street empty of most visitors other than TV news crews.
“We’re not going to close tonight,” Ward said. “What else would I be doing? Everybody still needs pizza.”
Update 3 p.m.: The national hurricane center says Hermine has gained hurricane strength with near 75 mph winds.
In a special statement issued at 2:55 p.m., forecasters said data from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter indicate that the storm has strengthened and will likely make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane late tonight or early Friday morning.
Update 1:30 p.m.: Tropical Storm Hermine has increased its wind speeds to 70 mph as it travels toward the Florida Gulf Coast at 14 mph.
A special statement issued by the National Hurricane Center says tropical storm warnings have been extended southward along the west coast of Florida to Engelwood, including the Tampa and St. Petersburg area.
Update 12:15 p.m.: Florida Gov. Rick Scott asked residents in the Big Bend area of the state to finish storm preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Hermine and foretold a grim night of storm surge up to 8 feet, winds of 70-75 mph, downed power lines and street flooding.
“This is life threatening,” Scott said. “It will impact us from Tampa Bay to Pensacola.”
Tropical storm force winds extend out to 185 miles.
Scott said fringes of the storm will begin hitting the coast this afternoon with the landfall occurring after midnight.
But areas are already feeling the impacts. In Pensacola Beach, which out of the cone of uncertainty, the Fort Pickens campground was evacuated when a new moon high tide and Hermine swell flooded roads.
“A lot of people have no experience with tropical systems,” Elsner said. “The National Weather Service in Tallahassee said to prepare for two days without power. I would imagine that’s worse case scenario.”
Forecasters are concerned about high tides and storm surge for this storm as the Gulf Coast of Florida has a shallow run up to the coast.
In Wakulla County, an evacuation of low lying coastal homes was issued this morning. A state of emergency has been declared in 51 Florida counties as the storm approaches, but this morning’s high tide is already flooding some Gulf Coast roads, even ones not in Hermine’s direct path.
Fort Pickens Road, which runs the extent of Pensacola Beach is already seeing some overrun as the tide comes in. Pensacola is not in the storm’s path or the cone of uncertainty, but a new moon is increasing tides all along the Panhandle.
As of the 5 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center, Hermine had 65 mph winds and was about 250 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola moving north-northeast at 12 mph. The minimum central pressure was 996 mb.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. A hurricane watch is in effect for Anclote River to Suwannee River and west of Mexico Beach to Destin.
Hermine’s tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles to the east of center and should start hitting the coast this afternoon.
Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the coast within the warning area beginning tonight.
Preparations should be finished now before the wind and rain makes it to difficult to drive or secure your home.
Update 8 p.m.: Tropical Storm Hermine has strengthened slightly, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, and has moved slightly to the northeast of its position at 5 p.m., with an estimated speed of 8 mph.
Hurricane and tropical-storm watches and warnings remain posted for parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Update 5 p.m.: Tropical Storm Hermine’s forecast track has shifted slightly west with a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch extended to Destin.
The storm, which has winds of about 45 mph, is 325 miles south-southwest from Apalachicola and 350 miles west-southwest of Tampa.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said Hermine is better organized on satellite images and that there is a “distinct possibility that Hermine could become a hurricane before landfall.”
Update 2 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center says the depression in the Gulf of Mexico has gained tropical storm strength and is now Tropical Storm Hermine (her-MEEN).
As of the 2 p.m. advisory, the storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is moving north at 2 mph. Tropical storm force conditions could be felt in the Big Bend region of Florida as early as Thursday afternoon.
The decision to upgrade the storm was made after NOAA Hurricane Hunters investigated this afternoon.
The minimum central pressure is 1000 mb and tropical storm force winds extend out up to 105 miles.
The center of Tropical Storm Hermine is located about 415 miles west-southwest of Tampa and 395 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola.
While the system is a minimal tropical storm, it is expected to reach the Big Bend area of Florida with winds of about 60 to 65 mph. NHC forecasters said they are not ruling out the possibility of a Hermine gaining hurricane strength by the time landfall occurs.
If Hermine gains hurricane strength, it would be the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade. The last Florida hurricane was 2005’s Wilma.
But some experts don’t think it will gain the mantle of hurricane.
Hugh Willoughby, a retired 27-year veteran of NOAA’s hurricane division and a professor at Florida International University, said the hurricane watch was probably issued in an abundance of caution.
“What they are saying to people in North Florida is that maybe this doesn’t look too threatening, but don’t get complacent,” Willoughby said. “They are being honest. The hurricane center is really good at this but recognize that they could be wrong.”
The counties, which do not include Palm Beach County, are ones that are in the cone of uncertainty published by the National Hurricane Center.
National Hurricane forecasters aren’t taking chances with the meandering tropical depression nine, saying this morning the system could become a weak hurricane before landfall.
The tropical cyclone, which has defied predictions since it was first recognized more than a week ago, is officially forecast to reach 65-mph winds before hitting in Florida’s Big Bend region late Thursday and early Friday morning. It could then briefly ramp up to 70 mph after exiting the state into the Atlantic.
A Category 1 hurricane isn’t declared until winds reach 74 mph.
A special 8 a.m. update from the hurricane center said the system is still a depression with 35-mph winds. The system is expected to become a tropical storm later today, according to hurricane center forecasters.
But the hurricane center on Tuesday took the unusual step of issuing hurricane and tropical storm watches for portions of Florida’s Gulf Coast. The tropical storm watches were increased to warnings this morning.
Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said a hurricane watch is issued even if the official forecast is only for a tropical storm, if there is enough uncertainty in the future of a system that will be in an environment favorable for development.
“The hurricane watch, by definition, means winds of hurricane-force would be possible,” he said.
Don’t focus on fact it’s currently a tropical depression. Focus on hazards you could experience – especially water. https://t.co/s0BJ7uZuy1
“It is important not to focus on the forecast landfall point of this system,” forecasters wrote in a 5 p.m. discussion. “Among other reasons, dangerous storm surge flooding is likely along the coast well to the east and south of the path of the center.”
A hurricane watch is in effect for Anclote River to Indian Pass. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Anclote River to the county line between Walton and Bay counties.
The National Hurricane has also issued storm surge flooding maps for the first time this year. Areas along the Gulf Coast could see water levels reach up to five feet above the ground if a peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.
As of the 5 a.m. hurricane center update, tropical depression nine was about 405 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola and about 425 miles southwest of Tampa. Its maximum sustained winds are 35 mph and it is moving at just 2 mph toward the north.
Update 5 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for areas of the Florida Gulf coast from Anclote River to Indian Pass.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for areas west of Indian Pass to the Walton and Bay county line.
The watches were issued despite the system still not becoming better organized and with limited evidence of banding features.
Official wind measurements remain at 35 mph.
But National Hurricane Center forecasters said a few of the computer models now turn tropical depression nine into a hurricane so the decision was made to issue a hurricane watch.
“It is important not to focus on the forecast landfall point of this system,” forecasters wrote. “Among other reasons, dangerous storm surge flooding is likely along the coast well to the east and south of the path of the center.”
While thunderstorm activity has increased, the organization of the system has not changed much since last night, forecasters said.
“Another NOAA Hurricane Hunter Aircraft is scheduled to investigate the cyclone this afternoon to see if the depression has become a tropical storm,” the 11 a.m. discussion says.
The National Hurricane Center has also issued potential storm surge flooding maps for Florida’s Big Bend region. The maps are a new product being used operationally for the first time with this storm, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen.
Tropical depression 8 remains disorganized as of the 11 a.m. update and has maintained a wind speed of 35 mph, just under tropical storm strength. As the system moves closer to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, it is expected to strengthen some. The track of the system was shifted a little west this morning, putting it slightly closer to the Outer Banks, but it is still expected to make a hard north turn before landfall.
Previous story: Tropical depression nine was finishing its trek through the Florida Straits early this morning with winds of 35 mph, and is expected to become a tropical storm today.
As of the 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the system is expected to track west-northwest today and turn more to the north tonight.
A tropical storm or hurricane watch may be issued today for part of Florida’s Gulf coast, the center said.
Hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said a hurricane watch could be issued if there is uncertainty in the intensity forecast when a strong tropical storm is in an environment that might allow for enough strengthening to push it to hurricane strength. It means winds of hurricane force would be possible.
If tropical depression nine gains tropical storm status it would be Hermine or Ian, depending on if it does so before tropical depression eight, which is off the coast of North Carolina.
Regardless of strengthening, TD 9 is expected to bring heavy rain to South Florida. Palm Beach County could expect 2.75 to 5 inches of rain through Thursday, and northern areas of the county were upgraded this morning to a “moderate” risk of excessive rain by the Weather Prediction Center.
“The stage is set for widespread moderate to heavy rains for Central to South Florida,” Weather Prediction Center forecasters wrote in their morning discussion. “High resolution guidance is very wet, showing either stripes of 7+ totals…..or local maxima of 5-7 inches.”
The National Weather Service in Miami said this morning precipitable water values are near record high for this date at 2.45 inches – meaning if all the moisture in the air column fell at once, it would equal 2.45 inches.
“Numerous showers and gusty squalls” are expected throughout the day with the potential for trailing rain bands to dump several inches in localized areas.
As tropical depression nine moves further away from Cuba, winds will turn more southerly with a breeze of 10 to 20 mph and higher gusts, NWS forecasters said.
For Palm Beach County, gusty winds up to 40 to 50 mph are also possible today, according to the National Weather Service in Miami. An alert for a high risk of rip currents is in effect.
Rain chances in West Palm Beach are 90 percent today.
Tropical depression eight, which is 95 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and its center will be near the Outer Banks this afternoon or evening. The system could become a tropical storm later today, but tropical storm warnings have already been issued for areas of North Carolina from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet and Pamlico Sound.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter is investigating the depression this morning.
Hurricane Gaston, which is no threat to land, has 100 mph winds and is heading northeast at 6 mph. Little change in strength is expected over the next two days as it moves further out to sea.
In Florida, a stretch of the state from Sarasota to near Panama City is in the cone of tropical depression nine. It’s a similar area targeted by Tropical Storm Colin in June.
“Right now we’re thinking this will mostly be a big rain producer for the northwest and northern part of the peninsula,” said Dan Kottlowski, hurricane expert with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. “It’s still fighting wind shear and there is a large area of dry air to its north, but it will soon be over very warm water with less shear.”
The National Weather Service in Tampa, issued a flood warning for the Myakka River this morning.
The system is expected to maintain tropical storm strength as it moves through Florida. The center of its track then takes it out into the Atlantic, but the northern edge of the cone skims the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Tyler Fleming, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa, said the area is bracing for 8 inches of rain or more over the next five days.
“We’re also looking for tides to be 1 to 3 feet above normal and some coastal flooding,” said Fleming, who didn’t want to compare the coming system to Colin. “Every storm is going to be unique.”