PANAMA CITY, Florida (WMBB-TV). – 9 AM Sunday Update – The tornado watch has been allowed to expire as of 8 a.m. CT Sunday.
Tropically convective storms forming over the northern Gulf of Mexico are slowly tracking to the east/northeast. Most of these storms are resulting in heavy rain and gusty winds by the time they make it to shore. Some rotation has been noted over the water, but that rotation has not translated well over land. Again, the tornado threat remains low.
Tropical Storm Claudette was finally named late Friday night as the core of the low closed off with the landfalling system onshore.
The storm itself weakened as it moved inland Saturday, but it still produced significant weather across southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Florida and southwestern Georgia. Heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding was seen often. There were also quite a few brief, spin-up tornadoes that tried to form within the tropical rain bands moving over land. Winds gusted at 40-60 mph in most places along the coast.
As of Saturday evening, the tropical depression continues to move northeast across central Alabama and push towards Georgia. The tropical low will continue to track northeast through the weekend. There’s a chance the storm could re-strengthen upon its approach to the Atlantic Coast Monday morning. Heavy rain and scattered storms will continue into the evening for the Deep South.
Meanwhile, a High Surf Advisory has been issued around Mobile and far west Florida including Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County until 7 p.m. CT Sunday. A Small craft advisory has also bee issued for the northern Gulf coast until 4:00 p.m. CT Sunday. Double red flags continue to fly at beaches – the water remains closed! Expect large breaking waves of 5-7 feet in the surf zone. There is also a high risk of rip currents – even the best swimmers can get swept away from shore when a high risk is evident. Swimming and surfing conditions will be dangerous and localized beach erosion is possible.
A Flash Flood Watch remains issued until Sunday at 7 p.m. CT. Heavy rain over a short period of time could lead to ponding water on roadways. River flooding may also occur. If you come across a roadway with standing water, remember to “turn around, don’t drown!”
Overall, this is not a storm system that will have a major impact on our area. Heavy rain and hazardous marine conditions will be the biggest concern. Winds may gust upwards of 30-40 mph at times on Saturday into Sunday, but prolonged periods of high winds are not expected. Surge predictions remain very low at only 1-2′. The threat for severe weather is also rather low, but it is not completely zero. With any tropical system moving over land, there is always the possibility to see a brief spin-up tornado forming within the rain bands. This will be a very isolated threat through Sunday morning across the Panhandle of Florida.
The First Alert Storm Team will be on standby throughout the weekend to keep you up to date on the changing weather conditions and notifying you of any severe weather. Be sure to download the StormTrack13 app to your mobile devices to receive severe weather alerts and access radar on the go!