Tropical Storm Fay is past the Florida Keys and bearing down on Florida. Where will it finally make landfall?
As of 8 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Fay is located at 25.0 north, 81.9 west, or about 105 miles south Naples, Fla. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Fay is moving north at 9 mph. Fay will take aim for the southwestern coast of Florida early tomorrow. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward from the center of Fay up to 125 miles mostly to the north and east and mostly over water. The minimum central pressure in Fay is 998 millibars or 29.47 inches.
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.
Fay performed a large loop around the Key West area during the afternoon hours but has since taken on a due north track toward Southwest Florida. Fay’s surface pressure had fallen during the afternoon but since then have stayed pretty stable. Sea surface temperatures over the southeast Gulf of Mexico are very warm. This area of deep, warm water will help cause Fay to intensify as it moves through the southeastern Gulf. 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 Tuesday morning along the southwestern Florida coast. The storm will bring heavy rain the rest of today 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 southwestern 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 gusts 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. There is a chance that Fay might move more eastward and back over water into the Atlantic before turning back north or perhaps even 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 the coast of the southeastern United States.
Emergency School Hotlines & Websites
Classes have been cancelled in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties for Tuesday, August 19, 2008
In Miami-Dade: 305-468-5400
In Broward: 754-321-0321
In Palm Beach County: 561-357-7500
The message is recorded in English, Spanish and Creole
Note: This was posted 18-AUG-2008 at 9:00 PM EDT