Tropical Storm Emily is expected to bring some rain to Central Florida, but the brunt of it will be in the Tampa Bay and Naples area, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters in Orlando are calling for about a half-inch of rain today. There will be about an inch in Osceola and Polk counties, the National Weather Service said.
As of 11 a.m., the center of the storm was 30 miles northwest of Sarasota and is expected to make landfall this afternoon. Maximum sustained winds are 45 mph. Tropical storm winds extend for 60 miles.
Tropical-storm warnings are in effect from Anclote River to Bonita Beach. There are reports of some localized flooding in Manatee and Sarasota counties near the Myakka River, according to the Hurricane Center.
Rain-fall totals in Tampa and Naples could see up to 8 inches, forecasters said.
The storm will weaken into a depression as it moves across the state today.
Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement he and other state officials are actively monitoring the system and its impact on the state.
He urged residents to remain vigilant and noted how quickly this storm developed.
“As we know in Florida, storms can quickly develop, bringing severe weather to our state in a moment’s notice,” he said. “Last night, this storm posed no threat to Florida. Now, after rapidly intensifying overnight, a tropical depression will impact the Tampa area and Floridians must prepare for impacts to Southwest Florida.”
The storm has shut down the water park at Legoland Florida, the attraction announced on Twitter this morning.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May predicted 11-17 named tropical systems with a minimum of 38 mph winds for the 2017 season. Five to nine of those would achieve hurricane status with 74 mph winds, and two to four of those would be Category 3 or stronger with at least 111 mph winds.
AccuWeather’s May forecast predicted 10 named storms with five becoming hurricanes and three storms of Category 3 or higher.
Colorado State University hurricane researchers Philip J. Klotzbach and Michael M. Bell predicted 11 named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1-Nov. 30, although the year has already seen its first named storm when Tropical Storm Arlene formed off the coast of New England in April.
Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said that storm was extremely rare, and Arlene was only the second recorded in the month of April since satellites went into use.
Last year also had two storms form before the official start. The first Atlantic storm of 2016 was Hurricane Alex, which made an unseasonable debut in January over the far eastern Atlantic. Tropical Storm Bonnie formed in May 2016 off the South Carolina coast.
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