Tropical Depression Claudette Moves Inland, Brings Heavy Rains To Florida Panhandle
Tropical Storm Claudette emerged early Saturday morning and is poised to bring heavy rains and flash flooding to portions of the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast.
After days of teasing, Tropical Storm Claudette formed in the Gulf of Mexico early Saturday morning on a path toward New Orleans.
Previously Potential Tropical Cyclone Three, Claudette is expected to produce heavy rains and flash flooding along the central Gulf Coast and the Florida Panhandle after making landfall near Near Orleans.
Claudette was downgraded to a tropical depression after topping out with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
As of Saturday at 8 p.m., Claudette has winds of 35 mph with higher gusts. It was located about 120 miles west of Montgomery, Alabama, and moving to the northeast at 15 mph.
Claudette is expected to turn to the east-northeast Saturday night into Sunday, and move through inland portions of the Southeast through Sunday night and into over the western Atlantic Ocean on Monday.
Tropical storm warnings have been dropped along the Gulf Coast, but are in effect for portions of the Carolinas.
While Claudette is expected to continue weakening as it moves inland, it is forecast to regain tropical storm strength as it moves across the Carolinas on Sunday night or early Monday.
Forecasters said Claudette is expected to produce 5-10 inches of fall in areas including the Florida Panhandle, with isolated totals of 15 inches.
These storms could result in tropical storm-force winds and flash flooding, and could spawn tornadoes.
Areas in the Panhandle could also see storm surge of 1-2 feet during peak high tide, forecasters say.