UPDATE (5PM) -- Tropical Storm Hermine has strengthened and continues to organize.
Hermine was stronger at 5PM EDT Advisory. Max Winds: 45. Pressure: 1004 mb. Moving NNE @ 7. Track shift westward.
Walton Co. FL now in Tropical Storm Warning & Hurricane Watch.
Landfall expected near Appalachicola early Friday morning.
UPDATE (2PM) -- The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Hermine has formed in Gulf of Mexico.
UPDATE (11am): Tropical Depression 9 still hasn’t become a tropical storm as of the 11AM Advisory.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Anclote River to the Walton/Bay County line. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from Anclote River to Indian Pass. Tropical Storm Watches have also been posted for the First Coast including Jacksonville to coastal Georgia.
The depression is stationary but will eventually move toward the north then northeast toward the Florida Big Bend coastline with landfall expected by early Friday. It has a chance to strengthen briefly to a minimal hurricane before making landfall, although I am skeptical of this as it will be encountering some westerly wind shear by that point and that combined with any delayed strengthening may keep it as a strong tropical storm.
The satellite presentation has been looking more and more impressive on Wednesday morning. A hurricane hunter aircraft was scheduled to check the storm out this morning but experienced mechanical issues and didn’t make the flight.
Impacts to SWFL will be small. We have been seeing rounds of heavier rainfall the last day or so, but it appears the heaviest rain will be focused mainly for closer to Tampa. In fact, several computer model forecasts show MUCH less rain than was earlier anticipated with more spotty activity as opposed to steady long-lasting downpours. The best chance for heaver flooding rainfall likely will stay toward coastal Charlotte to Sarasota Co. and points northward. The rain will be more widespread in these areas as they will be closer to the storm track.
Farther east into Lee, Glades, Hendry and Collier Co. Rain totals will be lower. There will be a water rise of a couple of feet from Bonita Beach northward, with potentially higher water rises farther north. Winds may pick up a bit Thursday into Friday, but only around 20 mph at the most. This is highly dependent on the eventual strength and size of the storm as it pushes across the northern portions of the state.
The storm will exit the state by Friday afternoon but lingering showers and storms will be around through Friday into the weekend across the area. The biggest impacts from this storm will remain well north of our area with the potential for strong tropical storm force winds from Tampa Bay northward into the eastern portions of the Panhandle.
A threat for tornadoes will exist east of the center of the storm track. Storm surge will be significant east of the track in the Big Bend, an area highly susceptible to storm surge and flooding, even from a weaker storm. Parts of north Florida could see over 10” of rainfall.
-Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on tropical weather systems threatening the Southeast (all times local):
An emergency management official says North Carolina's Outer Banks were spared from a tropical weather system that had been moving toward the state for two days.
Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson writes in an email that the tropical depression resulted in "no impacts" on areas such as Cape Hatteras.
A hotel manager on Ocracoke Island says residents and tourists experienced less than an inch of rain. Byron Miller, manager of The Ocracoke Harbor Inn, said in a telephone interview that "it's just a normal day."
North Carolina's Outer Banks apparently will be spared from a tropical system that has been moving toward the state for days.
The National Weather Service said Wednesday morning that the tropical depression was moving away from the state. Highest winds were still 35 mph. The system was about 75 miles east of Cape Hatteras and was moving to the northeast at 35 mph.
A tropical storm warning for the North Carolina coast was dropped Tuesday night.
Only a few clouds were reported and winds were only about 5 mph on the Outer Banks Wednesday morning.
Forecasters earlier had worried the area could get up to 5 inches of rain as the storm passed near the coast.
Heavy rainfall is expected across much of Florida as a tropical depression looms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Heavy rain caused some local street flooding in South Florida on Tuesday, and more is forecast for Wednesday.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Andrew Hagan says the tropical depression that's expected to become a tropical storm later Wednesday is keeping the atmosphere more moist than usual.
Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm will likely dump around 5 inches of rain on areas of central and north Florida as it approaches the state Thursday. Some areas could see up to 15 inches of rain.
A tropical storm warning has been issued Wednesday morning for a section of Florida's Gulf coast as a tropical depression approaches.
The tropical storm warning covers an area from Anclote River to the Walton County-Bay County line. That area is also under a hurricane watch.
The depression's maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 kph). But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says strengthening is forecast and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later in the day. The Hurricane Center says it also could become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall.
The depression is centered about 425 miles (680 kilometers) southwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving north near 2 mph (4 kph). It's expected to later curve northeastward.
The National Hurricane Center says the Outer Banks will likely be drenched as a tropical weather system blows by. But forecasters say the storm isn't expected to surpass tropical-storm strength as it lashes North Carolina beaches through Wednesday.
Officials expected heavy rains of up to 5 inches and winds of up to 45 mph.
Elsewhere, a powerful hurricane threatened to pass "dangerously close" to Hawaii, and a hurricane watch was issued for parts of Florida's Gulf Coast because of a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico.
Business owners on North Carolina's Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands say they've experienced a drop in foot traffic. But by late Tuesday, many tourists had decided to brave the weather. Large waves also attracted surfers from out of town.
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)