As Tropical Storm Nestor churns in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, it is ready to take aim at the Big Bend of Florida, an area already devastated last year by Hurricane Michael.
Although Nestor will not be nearly as powerful as Michael at landfall, the tropical storm could bring damaging winds and storm surge to parts of Florida.
As of 4 p.m. CT on Friday, Tropical Storm Nestor’s top sustained winds were 60 MPH, with higher gusts. The storm has a large wind field, which means storm surge could reach five feet in the Big Bend of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center said on Friday the storm could strengthen until landfall.
Tropical storm and storm surge warnings have been issued along the Gulf Coast from Navarre, Florida to Yankeetown, Florida.
Local officials have closed some beaches in the Big Bend and issued mandatory evacuations in areas prone to flooding.
Nestor became better organized on Friday, officially attaining tropical storm status midday on Friday. After making landfall early Saturday morning, Nestor is expected to become extratropical, but still bring tropical storm-like conditions to parts of Georgia and the Carolinas, according to a National Hurricane Center forecast.
The path of Tropical Storm Nestor could go over the same area hit by Hurricane Michael last year. Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.