Tropical Storm Fay heads toward the Florida Keys. Southern Florida is next.
Hurricane warnings remain in effect for the southwestern coast of Florida, from Flamingo to Anna Maria Island.
A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch is in effect for the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to Key West.
A hurricane watch is also in effect east of Flamingo to Card Sound Bridge and along the Florida west coast north of Ana Maria to Tarpon Springs.
A tropical storm warning is in effect along the Florida east coast northward to Cocoa Beach.
A tropical storm watch is in effect north of Cocoa Beach to Fernandina Beach and also for the Northwestern Bahamas.
“We’re going to see these squalls and rain bands throughout tonight,” said Daniel Brown, hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center. “Regardless of where it’s going, we’re going to have some rough weather for the next day or so.”
As of 2:00 PM. EDT, Tropical Storm Fay is located at 24.3 north, 81.6 west, or about 20 miles southeast of Key West, Fla. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Fay is moving north-northwest at 14 mph. At this speed Fay will pass between Key West and Marathon Florida later this afternoon then take aim for the southwest coast of Florida tonight and early tomorrow. Tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center of Fay up to 115 miles mostly to the north and east and mostly over water. The minimum central pressure in Fay is 1002 millibars or 29.62 inches.
Fay is now moving across the Florida Straits and toward the western Florida Keys as a tropical storm. Sea surface temperatures in this region are very warm, and warm water runs deep in the Florida Straits. This area of deep, warm water will help cause Fay to intensify as it moves through the Keys later this afternoon and evening just east of Key West. There is some southwest shear over the storm causing the more intense rainfall and wind to be mostly east and northeast of the storm’s center. Fay should reach hurricane strength before making landfall along the southwestern Florida coast later tonight or Tuesday morning near Marco Island. The storm will bring heavy rain the rest of through Tuesday across the Keys and all of southern Florida. Rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches are expected, with isolated amounts of 12 inches, causing flash flooding.
Most of the latest computer models take Fay inland over southwest Florida by Tuesday morning, and once this happens the storm will start to weaken. We expect Fay to move northward over the Florida Peninsula during the day Tuesday into Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and tropical storm force winds mostly in gusts. The strongest winds gusting to over 60 mph will be felt along the east coast of Florida. Areas well inland from the coast might experience wind gust to 50 miles mostly in the rain bands close to the storm’s center. Rainfall along and to the east of Fay’s path will continue to average 4-8 inches with some isolated spots up to 12 inches mostly near the east coast of Florida. There is also the potential for isolated tornadoes, mostly into this evening over south Florida and mostly over eastern Florida during the daylight hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. back over water into the Atlantic before turning back north or perhaps evening west again. It does seem more certain now that Fay will encounter relatively weak steering flow during midweek. This will mean a slow, erratic storm movement Wednesday and beyond. Some computer forecasts suggest that Fay could stall for a day or two near coast of the southeastern United States.
Emergency School Hotlines & Websites
In Miami-Dade: 305-468-5400
Classes cancelled Monday and Tuesday
In Broward: 754-321-0321
Classes cancelled Monday and Tuesday
In Palm Beach County: 561-357-7500
Monday schools are open
No word on Tuesday
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Note: This was posted 18-AUG-2008 at 2:00 PM EDT