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Tropical Storm Claudette forms in Gulf; TS Ana, TS Bill form in Atlantic Ocean

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By Kellie Parkin

Tropical Storm Claudette is located approximately 100 miles west-southwest of Levy County and is moving north-northwest at approximately 16 mph.

The Storm is a relatively small system, said Charlie Paxton of the National Weather Service-Ruskin. Cedar Key can expect only a half to one foot above normal tide, he said.

There is a 40 to 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon for the Levy County coastal areas.

“All the rain is off shore right now,” Paxton said. “As for this afternoon, nothing is certain right now.”

The center of the storm is expected to be near the northern Gulf coast of Florida by late this afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph with higher gusts. 

A Tropical Storm warning is in effect from the Alabama/Florida border eastward to the Suwannee River in Dixie County. The Tropical Storm warning does not include Levy County at this time, Paxton said.

Tropical Storm Ana is moving west at 23 mph with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and higher gusts. It was located approximately 430 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the chain of islands southeast of Puerto Rico, latitude 14.8 north and longitude 55.8 west.

The path of the NHC’s forecasted cone of uncertainty shows that TS Ana is expected to be near Puerto Rico Monday evening or Tuesday morning if current speed is maintained. ee

The five-day potential storm track includes the possibility of landfall in Cuba or the Bahamas on Wednesday, and south Florida on Thursday. The storm could also move into the Gulf of Mexico where it could potentially gather strength from the warmer water temperatures.

Currently, forecasters do not expect TS Ana do develop into a hurricane, instead maintaining tropical storm strength winds (sustained 39-73 mph) until reaching Cuba, where it is expected to become a depression again.

On the coattails of TS Ana, Tropical Storm Bill formed and is expected to become a hurricane in the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center. The current forecast of TS Bill projects the storm staying north of Puerto Rico and eventually becoming a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) by late Thursday or early Friday.

Levy County ee

Levy County Director of Emergency Management Mark Johnson said he has been in contact with the National Weather Service- Ruskin to monitor the storms.

Johnson said he hopes complacency has not set in for the people of Levy County. ee“At this point in the season people should be well into their preparations – disaster kits, evacuation plans,” Johnson said. “We’re all Floridians, and even though this hurricane season has been quiet from the El Nino – so was 1992 – and that’s when Andrew struck.”ee

“Statistically we’re very due,” Johnson said. “Complacency is a dangerous thing.”ee

For people new to the area, or for those who have yet to get prepared, Johnson advises them to visit the Web sites www.levydisaster.com and www.floridadisaster.org for more information.