Emily Downgraded to Tropical Depression

5PM UPDATE:

The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Emily to a Tropical Depression as of the 5 pm advisory. All watches and warnings have also been canceled for Southwest Florida counties. 

As of 5 pm, the maximum sustained winds are 35 mph as the system tracks east northeast at 12 mph.

Drier air has wrapped into the center of circulation and helped to significantly weaken the system. The latest track has Emily emerging off the eastern coast of Florida by Tuesday morning then restrengthening as it moves into the open waters of the Atlantic.

While the worst of the rain is over with the system, isolated to spotty shower and thunderstorm chances continue through Tuesday afternoon with any additional rainfall adding to the localized flooding threat.

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MIAMI (AP) - The Latest on Tropical Storm Emily (all times local):

2 p.m.

Tropical Storm Emily is now headed inland across west-central Florida amid forecasts of heavy rain over the southern and central parts of the peninsula.

At 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Emily was centered about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Tampa and had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). It is moving at 10 mph (17 kph) to the east and expected to weaken to a tropical depression in the coming hours as it crosses the peninsula and then enters.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Emily, which made landfall south of the mouth of Tampa Bay late Monday morning, is expected to move out into the Atlantic Ocean off Florida's east-central coast on Tuesday morning.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Englewood to Bonita Beach.

Forecasters say Emily is expected to dump between 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 millimeters) of rain between the Tampa bay area and Naples, with isolated amounts up to 8 inches (200 millimeters) in spots. Elsewhere across central and south Florida, 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 millimeters) of rain are possible.

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11:30 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is declaring a state of emergency in 31 counties because of Tropical Storm Emily.

Scott issued the declaration on Monday morning for Emily, which made a late-morning landfall along the coast and is expected to cross the Florida peninsula in coming hours.

Florida has a total of 67 counties. The emergency declaration covers all counties in the central and southern regions of the state.

The emergency declaration makes it easier for state and local officials to respond to the storm. It also triggers certain laws dealing with price-gouging and allows local authorities to use certain state buildings as shelters. The declaration also calls for the activation of the Florida National Guard to help if needed.

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11:15 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Emily has made landfall on the Gulf Coast.

The Miami-based center says Emily reached the coast at Anna Maria Island, just west of Bradenton, Florida, at about 11:10 a.m. EDT Monday.

The storm was about 20 miles (35 kilometers) south of St. Petersburg and has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and is moving to the east at 9 mph (15 kph).

As the ill-defined storm began lumbering ashore, the Florida Highway Patrol closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay due to high winds from Emily.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins said in an email that the bridge was shut down Monday morning because of winds that were gusting at more than 60 mph (95 kph). He urged motorists to seek alternate routes.

A flood watch is in effect for much of the Tampa area. That means there could be some street flooding in low-lying areas. Law enforcement officials are urging people to be careful while driving in these areas

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UPDATE (7:45 AM) -- The tropical depression that formed early Monday morning has now strengthened to Tropical Storm Emily.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for a section of the Florida coast from the Anclote River to Bonita Beach.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm's maximum sustained winds increased Monday morning to near 45 mph (72 kph) but it's expected to weaken do a tropical depression as it moves inland.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will be heading to the state's Emergency Operations Center to get a briefing on Tropical Storm Emily.

Scott said in a news release that residents of the affected areas should remain vigilant as the storm crosses central Florida, brining wind and rain to central and southern Florida.

Charlotte County Emergency Management reminds people to follow the below safety tips to remain safe during the heavy rainfall.

  • Avoid any unnecessary travel if possible
  • If travel is necessary, allow for additional time for travel and remember to turn on your headlights to help other vehicle see you
  • If while traveling you come across water in the road remember to Turn Around Don’t Drown  Avoid driving through any flooded areas
  • Cancel any beach, swimming or boating activities you may have planned for today. Water activities during a storm are proved to be dangerous and can result in injuries and death.
  • Avoid walking through any flooded areas, ditches, channels drain areas, etc.
  • If you encounter a downed power line to remove yourself from the area and report the down powerline immediately.
  • Report any power outages

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PREVIOUS STORY: Tropical Depression Six has formed just west of Tampa early Monday morning. The storm formed from an area of low pressuure along a slow moving cold front pushing into the Gulf and across Florida. The system will move toward the west coast of Florida through tonight with little change in strength. A *TROPICAL STORM WATCH* has been issued from the Anclote River south to Englewood FL.

LIVE WEATHER RADAR

Winds have been gusting to over tropical storm force with the rain bands out ahead of the main circulation center and this will continue through the day Monday. Rainfall will be heavy with some areas seeing over 6" of rain by Tuesday morning across SWFL. A *FLOOD WATCH* remains in effect for much of SWFL in anticipation of the heavier rains. There will also be an increase in tides and rip currents along the SWFL FL coast with the increasing onshore flow today. 

The system should move across the state tonight into early Tuesday and exit the state into the Atlantic by Tuesday night. A return to a more summer time pattern of afternoon storms will occur by mid-week. 

 

Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley

 

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