Tropical Storm Claudette races towards Gulf Coast: Tropical Storm Warning issued

Tropical Strom Claudette is the third tropical storm this season. The storm formed suddenly in the Gulf of Mexico, joining two other named tropical storms: Ana and Bill. Forming west of Pinellas County, Florida. The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning in response to Claudette. As of 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday August 16, 2009, Claudette had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving North West at 14 mph. Earlier, Claudette had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, but that number was upgraded after an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft reported wind speeds of 50 mph. It is possible that these speeds will continue to increase before landfall.

Special advisory #3 was issued at 2:00 p.m. August 16, 2009 instituting a tropical storm warning in effect from the Alabama/Florida border eastward to the Suwannee River in Florida. The Tropical Storm warning indicated that tropical storm conditions are expected within the target warning area and will occur sometime within the next 24 hours.

It is important for those to check with their local national weather forecast office for current and updated information. The center of Tropical Storm Claudette was located south of Apalachicola Florida and about 160 southeast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:00 p.m. August 16, 2009. Tropical Storm Claudette is expected to move toward the northwest area at a rate of 14 mph. This speed will take Tropical Storm Claudette to the northern Florida gulf coast sometime this evening.

Tropical storm force winds associated with Claudette extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure, based upon the aircraft data, is 29.77 inches. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are expected, though isolated amounts up to 10 inches are expected across the Florida the Big Bend Region, Southern Alabama, and Southwestern Georgia.

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