Weakened Nestor makes landfall in Florida; brings heavy rains to Southeast

Will Warren

Will Warren

A tropical storm warning is in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River and the Mississippi-Alabama line to Yankeetown, Florida.

Soaking rains and gusty winds are in the forecast Sunday from the Carolinas up through the mid-Atlantic as the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor move across the region after the storm triggered tornadoes across Florida that damaged homes and ripped the roof off a school.

The latest forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, "At 700 AM CDT, satellite imagery, NOAA Doppler weather radar data, and surface observations indicate that the center of Tropical Storm Nestor has redeveloped farther west near latitude 29.5 North, longitude 86.8 West. Nestor is moving toward the northeast near 17 miles per hour [28 km/h]".

The tornadoes caused power outages for thousands of customers across central Florida. No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service blamed Nestor for a series of tornadoes that struck Hillsborough and Polk counties in Florida Friday night, damaging an estimated 50 homes. However, many residents sustained damage to their homes, some of which were severe, according to the sheriff's office.

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"There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation of up to 5 feet above ground level along the Florida Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach", the National Hurricane Center wrote. In addition, severe storms will be possible on the right side of the storm, especially from Central Florida to Eastern North Carolina. Within those bands, a few tornadoes could spin up. This tornado threat includes Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington.

Forecasters said it also was raising an overnight threat of severe weather in the Carolinas as it continued to speed toward the Atlantic Ocean. While some showers and gusty winds will be possible, impacts should be kept to a minimum in much of the Northeast. This is typical for fall, as low-pressure systems begin to trek further and further into the mid-latitudes due to colder air gaining strength in the Arctic.

Nestor is expected to bring one to three inches of rain to drought-stricken inland areas on its march across a swath of the U.S. Southeast.

"Thankfully, we have not had any reported serious injuries related to the "long track" tornado that touched down in our unincorporated areas in northwest Polk County last night", Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement Saturday.

Then on Monday and into early Tuesday, heavy rain and severe storms will move into parts of the southern USA, especially the Mississippi River Valley.

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