Tropical Storm Warning in effect for Florida Panhandle

Gulf storm grows stronger

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist, Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Potential Tropical Storm 16 grows stronger as hurricane hunters find 60 mph winds in the sub-tropical Gulf low. 

NOTE: Click here for latest Nestor forecast

The  low pressure in the gulf has not acquired enough tropical qualities to call it Nester but it continues to head toward the Panhandle with a likely landfall early Saturday morning.

Showers could begin this evening and last overnight in NE Florida. 

National Hurricane Center gives the low pressure a 90% chance that it could develop into a possible tropical depression or sub-tropical storm.

Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for southeastern Louisiana, as well as the northern Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Mississippi line to the Big Bend area of the Florida Panhandle. A storm surge warning for the Florida Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach also has been issued.

The system is expected to become Tropical or Subtropical Storm Nestor before making its way over the Florida Panhandle early Saturday morning.  

The type of storm is inconsequential because the local impacts will be the same regardless. 

The good news: Upper winds will prevent it from reaching hurricane strength. But unfortunately, it accelerates quickly toward the Florida Panhandle, sending rain our way Saturday.

We will see 1 to 2 inches of rain pushing across our area in waves on Friday night and into Saturday. Areas west of I-75 and across southern Georgia could pick up 3 inches of rain. The rapid movement means only Saturday will have disruptive weather. 

Upper winds will prevent the system from becoming a hurricane, but our local winds Saturday will be breezy -- around 20-30 mph.

At 11 a.m. Friday, the disturbance was 395 miles southwest of the mouth of Panama City, FL moving northeastward near 22 mph.

On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf Coast Friday and Friday night and then move over portions of the southeastern United States on Saturday.

Winds are 60 mph and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles mainly to the north and east of the center.

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.