Tropical Storm Arlene moved inland at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon and proceeded northwest of Pensacola, Fla. Tropical storm and hurricane watches were cancelled all areas but those in the immediate vicinity of the storm. Arlene’s sustained winds dropped below 50 mph, with higher gusts. The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would continue to the northwest, resulting in heavy rains, but was expected to lose strength and result in heavy rain.
A tropical storm and hurricane watch was in effect for the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast on Saturday afternnon as Tropical Storm Arlene approached the coast with sustained winds of 60 mph and higher gusts. The National Weather Service said it was unlikely Arlene would become a hurricane before making landfall.
According to NWS, Arlene was “moving quickly” along a path toward Alabama and was expected to make landfall near the Florida, Alabama border. Landfall was expected at about 5 p.m.
A tropical storm warning was posted for parts of the north-central Gulf Coast, from Pascagoula, Mississippi, east to Indian Pass, Fla. Flash flood watches were issued for parts of northwest Florida, southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama.
Much of the Panhandle received heavy rain early Saturday, and forecasters said 5-foot storm surges and up to 7 inches of precipitation were possible — making flooding the primary concern.
“Compared to last year’s storms, Tropical Storm Arlene will be like a spring shower,” one meteorologist said.
Arlene soaked parts of Florida as it moved north off of the Sunshine state’s west coast, where it was expected to bypass Tampa and head north.
Earlier on Friday, Arlene, the season’s first named tropical storm, moved north-northwest at 10 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph at 5 a.m. Friday and predicted to drop as much as 5 to 10 inches of rain.
Heavy rain was reported across the Cayman Islands and western and central Cuba. Tropical storm warnings were issued for communities from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana.
The National Hurricane Center told residents to get ready for heavy rain and possible flooding this weekend.
Editor’s note: See related story in International news.
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