DEVELOPING STORY: Claudette strengthens
Published 11:54 pm Sunday, August 16, 2009
By By Adam Prestridge
Tropical Storm Claudette strengthened Sunday afternoon, with winds at about 50 mph, weather forecasters said.
According to Gene Jacobi, spokesperson for the National Weather Service in Mobile, the storm strengthened over night and became a tropical depression around 2 a.m.
Later Sunday morning, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Claudette, after wind models increased to more than 39 miles per hour.
According to NWS Senior Forecaster Don Shepherd conditions “were just right” for the tropical wave to form into the year’s third named storm.
Shepherd said at 1:30 p.m. Sunday that numerous showers and thunderstorms are already “rapidly developing” as a result of Claudette. He added that there would also be “low-end” tornado threats this afternoon into the evening hours.
Shepherd said he does not expect Claudette to be upgraded to a hurricane with early sustained wind predictions between 20 to 25 miles per hour with gusts between 40 and 50 miles per hour, which are also expected as the center of the storm passes through the area.
In addition, Shepherd suggests that residents living in the path of Claudette make sure they secure loose, lightweight objects outdoors and have batteries and other essentials in case of power outages.
As for storm’s expected duration, it is unknown, but not expected to be long.
Shepherd expects the center of Claudette to travel near Atmore between midnight and daybreak Monday morning and near Evergreen by mid-morning.
He added that the storm’s rain and winds will still be felt in Atmore and surrounding areas until Monday afternoon.
As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Claudette was located about 40 miles south of Apalachicola, Fla.
Current in-land tropical storm warnings are in effect for Escambia, Covington and Conecuh counties in Alabama. The entire panhandle of Florida, including Escambia County, Fla. is also included in the warning.
For updates as Tropical Storm Claudette approaches, continue to visit www.atmoreadvance.com.