Claudette brings outtages, high winds
Tropical storm Claudette brought scattered flooding and high winds to Franklin County, with warnings continuing from the Suwannee River westward through the Panhandle to the Alabama border.
A tropical storm wind warning and flood watch remains in effect for inland areas of the eastern Florida Panhandle as well as southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama.
Progress Energy expected to have all power restored to 1,500 customers in Franklin County, and 1,600 in Gulf County, by 8 p.m. this evening.
Jessica Lambert, a spokeswoman for the company, said only 49 Franklin customers, primarily in the 11-Mile area, remained without power as of 7:30 p.m. They were expected to be back on by 7:45 p.m.
In Gulf County, the 1,600 customers, primarily in the Cape San Blas and Indian Pass areas, were expected to have power restored by 8 p.m.
The Florida Park Service, acting in compliance with the Florida Park Service Emergency Action Plans, closed the campgrounds and evacuated all overnight visitors this afternoon at St. Andrews State Park, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park and St. George Island State Park. The decision to close the campgrounds of these coastal parks was made after tropical storm warnings were issued in the region.
Overnight use of these parks will remain closed until further notice.
Claudette, the first tropical storm to strike the mainland this season, made landfall this evening with maximum sustained winds of up to 60 miles per hour. Tropical storm force winds are predicted to subside by early Monday morning. By 8 p.m. the south winds of 25 to 30 mph were decreasing to between 15 and 20 mph. Temperature was a low of 77.
Butch Baker, former director, and now volunteer, at the Emergency Operations Center, said the EOC was activated at a Level 2, partial activation, until the National Weather Service drops the tropical storm warning early Monday morning.
He said the only damage reported was a tree blown down across U.S. 98 in Apalachicola
’It’s been a typical summer storm," he said.
A voluntary activation was order early Sunday for Alligator Point and low-lying areas.
At 8 p.m, the storm was passing just to the west of St. George Island, or about 20 miles to the west of Cape San Blas as a 50 mph tropical storm.
The center of the tropical storm was about 55 miles west of Apalachicola, and was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour. Storm intensity was 50 mph.
The tropical storm has a large band of rain that extends east of the center and will affect a large area across North Florida.
The National Weather Service has advised that small watercraft should remain in port and well-secured.
Storm tides, the combination of predicted storm surge and astronomical tides, were in the 3 to 5 foot range along the coast between Panama City and Alligator Point. Storm tide flooding may be slow to subside, especially across Franklin County.
Storm tide values of this height can cause minor to moderate structural damage to structures right on the beach. Access roads to beaches and barrier islands may be cut off during the storm.
Alligator Point low tide is at 6:34 p.m. High tide is again at 1:03 a.m. Monday.
Apalachicola low tide is at 6:06 p.m. High tide is again at 5:28 a.m. Monday.
A few isolated tornadoes are possible, especially along and to the east of the track of the center.
A flood watch is in effect for the entire area, with overall rainfalls 4 to 6 inches, has resulted in localized flooding in Franklin County urban areas.
The rip current risk has increased to a high level along the beaches of Franklin County.