As predicted by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Tropical Storm Nestor has begun to lose some of its tropical characteristics on Saturday morning as it reached the Florida coast. Yet the storm is still packing 50 mph winds and pelting the state with rain and tornado threats. The warning is still in effect for parts of Florida as dangerous storm surge and tropical-storm-force winds are still expected along portions of the northern Gulf Coast.
Nestor dropped from 60 mph on Friday to 50 mph on Saturday morning but is not expected to reduce strength again until after it makes landfall on the Florida Panhandle. As per NHC, the storm is moving northeast at 17 mph with its center located about 75 miles southwest of Apalachicola. Forecasters predicted rainfall of 2 to 4 inches from the central Gulf Coast to the eastern Carolinas and as much as 6 inches rainfall in isolated areas, where many areas have dried out due to lack of rains.
Sat 5AM | First round of strong storms now offshore; light to moderate rain ongoing. Looking south as next cluster of strong storms begins to move into our area (next 1-2 hours). Watching for the possibility of tornadoes, strong winds, and torrential rainfall.— NWS Melbourne (@NWSMelbourne) October 19, 2019
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People in the Florida coast are reportedly distressed with Nestor ascending from the Gulf of Mexico towards the northern Gulf Coast accompanied by high winds, surging seas and heavy rains on Friday. The storm threatened to hit an area of the Florida Panhandle that was devastated one year ago by Hurricane Michael. The storm had left thousands of people homeless and nearly wiped the Panhandle city of Mexico Beach off the map. Yet unlike last time, citizens were reportedly not alerted of Nestor and are thus, unprepared.
Mexico City Beach Mayor Al Cathey told the media that since there was no alarm, very little preparations have been done.
Ahead of the storm, Mexico activated its emergency operations center on Friday. As per reports, Nestor led to the postponement of plans to demolish two damaged construction cranes of New Orleans’s French Quarter that were left unstable following a fatal collapse of a section of an under-construction hotel. Likewise, Alabama called off football games scheduled for Friday night.
Waves could rise up to 5 feet as the storm surges in Florida's Big Bend region, alerted NHC.