Tropical Storm Mindy Weakens After Making Landfall In Florida Panhandle
The storm came ashore on Thursday night, just east of where Tropical Storm Fred made landfall last month. It will gradually weaken as it crosses Georgia and enters the Atlantic later in the day.
Quickly-forming Tropical Storm Mindy is has been downgraded to a depression after making landfall on Thursday night and dumping heavy rain on the Florida Panhandle.
The National Hurricane Center says Mindy made landfall Thursday around 9:15 p.m. on St. Vincent Island — just east of where Tropical Storm Fred came ashore last month — with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
It is moving away from the southeastern U.S. coastline, leaving the coastline free of direct effects from tropical systems this weekend.
The 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season started out as a disturbance on Wednesday and became better organized throughout the day, being classified as a tropical storm by Wednesday afternoon and prompting tropical storm warnings from Mexico Beach to the Steinhatchee River.
Mindy was downgraded to a tropical depression Thursday morning but is still bringing heavy rain to coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Conditions are expected to improve in these areas late Thursday afternoon once Mindy moves farther away from the coast.
Ray Hawthorne, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, said dangerous swimming conditions are still likely over the greater Tampa Bay region.
"Swimmers from the Panhandle eastward and southward into Pinellas, Manatee, and and Charlotte counties will want to be aware of high rip current risks in the wake of Mindy," Hawthorne said. "Atlantic coast beach-goers will continue to feel rip currents and swell from Hurricane Larry well offshore (Friday) and (Saturday) before conditions improve this weekend."
Mindy was forecast to produce as much as 6 inches of rain across the Panhandle and parts of southern Georgia and South Carolina through Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Larry has weakened to a category 2 storm and is expected to pass east of Bermuda on Thursday afternoon. The storm's large size has generated swell that is reaching most of the east coast of the United States. The swell is contributing to a high risk of rip currents along the coast, which is likely to continue on Friday. Some risk of rip currents is likely to continue into the weekend, but the swell is expected to gradually diminish as Larry moves toward Atlantic Canada.
There are two other areas that meteorologists are monitoring for possible tropical development.
The first is a tropical wave near the coast of Honduras and Nicaragua. It is expected to emerge in the far southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and could develop into a depression or named storm before making landfall in Mexico early next week.
The second tropical wave is about to move off the coast of Africa. It, too, has a chance of becoming a depression or named storm by early next week.
Both of these systems do not presently pose a threat to the United States coastline over the next five days.
Information from Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist Ray Hawthorne and the Associated Press was used in this report.