RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on tropical weather systems threatening the Southeast (all times local):
Forecasters say a tropical depression has virtually stalled in the Gulf of Mexico but is expected to strengthen and then begin crawling toward Florida’s Gulf coast.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the depression is located about 415 miles (665 kilometers) west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, with top sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph).
A hurricane watch is in effect from Florida’s Anclote River just northwest of Tampa to Indian Pass in the Florida Panhandle and a tropical storm warning is in effect elsewhere from the Anclote River to the Walton Bay County line. Authorities say a tropical storm watch also has been issued for the Atlantic coast from Marineland, Florida, to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.
Meanwhile, a tropical depression that skirted by North Carolina’s Outer Banks overnight is now moving northeastward further out into the Atlantic. The tropical depression could become a tropical storm later Wednesday though no coastal warnings and watches are in effect for it.
Florida officials urged residents to pay attention to a tropical depression that’s expected to head toward the state’s Gulf Coast.
Bryan Koon, the director of the state’s Division of Emergency Management, said at a news conference Tuesday morning that the storm in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to strengthen.
“Tomorrow night is going to be a significant issue since it is going to pass through North/Central Florida,” he said. “By the close of business today I expect this to be named storm and for us to be locked and ready.”
While parts of the Gulf Coast near Tampa saw heavy rain Wednesday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said people should be prepared for the worst.
“As you’ve seen with prior storms there are going to be bands of significant rain,” he said, adding Forida residents should be ready in the event of heavy rain, water and downed power lines. “Our teams state wide and locally are ready. This state knows what to do.”
An emergency management official says North Carolina’s Outer Banks were spared from a tropical weather system that had been moving toward the state for two days.
Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson writes in an email that the tropical depression resulted in “no impacts” on areas such as Cape Hatteras.
A hotel manager on Ocracoke Island says residents and tourists experienced less than an inch of rain. Byron Miller, manager of The Ocracoke Harbor Inn, said in a telephone interview that “it’s just a normal day.”
North Carolina’s Outer Banks apparently will be spared from a tropical system that has been moving toward the state for days.
The National Weather Service said Wednesday morning that the tropical depression was moving away from the state. Highest winds were still 35 mph. The system was about 75 miles east of Cape Hatteras and was moving to the northeast at 5 mph.
A tropical storm warning for the North Carolina coast was dropped Tuesday night.
Only a few clouds were reported and winds were only about 5 mph on the Outer Banks Wednesday morning.
Forecasters earlier had worried the area could get up to 5 inches of rain as the storm passed near the coast.
This item has been corrected to show system is moving to the northeast at 5 mph, not 35 mph.
Heavy rainfall is expected across much of Florida as a tropical depression looms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Heavy rain caused some local street flooding in South Florida on Tuesday, and more is forecast for Wednesday.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Hagan says the tropical depression that’s expected to become a tropical storm later Wednesday is keeping the atmosphere more moist than usual.
Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm will likely dump around 5 inches of rain on areas of central and north Florida as it approaches the state Thursday. Some areas could see up to 15 inches of rain.
A tropical storm warning has been issued Wednesday morning for a section of Florida’s Gulf coast as a tropical depression approaches.
The tropical storm warning covers an area from Anclote River to the Walton County-Bay County line. That area is also under a hurricane watch.
The depression’s maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 kph). But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says strengthening is forecast and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later in the day. The Hurricane Center says it also could become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall.
The depression is centered about 425 miles (680 kilometers) southwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving north near 2 mph (4 kph). It’s expected to later curve northeastward.
The National Hurricane Center says the Outer Banks will likely be drenched as a tropical weather system blows by. But forecasters say the storm isn’t expected to surpass tropical-storm strength as it lashes North Carolina beaches through Wednesday.
Officials expected heavy rains of up to 5 inches and winds of up to 45 mph.
Elsewhere, a powerful hurricane threatened to pass “dangerously close” to Hawaii, and a hurricane watch was issued for parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast because of a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico.
Business owners on North Carolina’s Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands say they’ve experienced a drop in foot traffic. But by late Tuesday, many tourists had decided to brave the weather. Large waves also attracted surfers from out of town.