Tropical Storm Fay Reaches Florida, Fails to Reach Hurricane Status

August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay remained at tropical storm status when it arrived on Florida’s mainland.

As of 8 a.m. EDT (Aug. 19), Fay’s center was north of Immokalee and about 20 miles south of LaBelle and moving toward Lake Okeechobee, according to the National Weather Service. The storm’s center is predicted to move north by northeast across the Florida peninsula at a 9 mph.

Slow weakening and a decrease in forward speed is expected as Fay moves further inland, though near tropical storm force sustained winds are still being reported. Scattered power outages are likely, NWS reported.

Reported rain levels are reaching 8 inches in some areas along the southwest Gulf region. Flooding may occur in low lying poorly drained underpasses and drainage ditches as well as ponding of rainfall runoff in parking lots, NWS stated.

Tornado watches are in effect throughout the day as Fay makes a northward path.

Neena Saith, catastrophe response manager at Risk Management Solutions said the fact that Fay crossed over a relatively sparsely populated area south of Naples, kept wind damage to a minimum.

“Florida initially appeared to be in the firing line, with some models predicting a category 1 hurricane hitting Tampa,” Saith said. “If this had been the case, we could have been looking at losses up to $2 billion, but as it is Florida has had a lucky escape,” she added.

Heavy rainfall associated with the storm and the ensuing potential of flash flooding over the next few days is the main concern now, Saith said.

“Some models are taking Fay into the Atlantic where there is potential to intensify before making landfall on the east coast, while other models are re-curving Fay over Florida, with the possibility of emerging into the Gulf of Mexico,” Saith reports. “However, at this stage it’s highly unlikely we’re going to see the category 3 hurricane that some models were originally suggesting.”

Sources: National Weather Service
Risk Management Solutions

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