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Tropical Storm Emily moves off Florida, weakens

By Ed Adamczyk
Tropical Storm Emily moves off Florida, weakens
Tropical Storm Emily was reduced to a tropical depression Tuesday after it passed over central Florida, bringing heavy rain and wind gusts. It is expected to dissipate in the Atlantic Ocean by Thursday. Image courtesy of National Hurricane Center

Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Emily weakened to a tropical depression as it brought rain to central Florida, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

It moved west to east, making landfall Monday morning at Anna Maria Island, in the Gulf of Mexico near Bradenton. Tuesday, it was centered about 50 miles northeast of Vero Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast.

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The storm still has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph as it moves into the Atlantic Ocean. Southeastern Florida is still expected to receive 1 to 2 inches of rain, and up to 4 inches of rain in isolated spots, by Wednesday morning, forecasters said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 31 of Florida's 67 counties in anticipation of the rain Monday. Shelters were opened across the state, and on Monday afternoon Scott said about 18,000 homes and businesses were without power due to the storm. Outages in Manatee County, on the Gulf Coast, left about 10,000 customers without power.

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Winds of up to 30 mph damaged a roof at an East Naples construction site Monday afternoon, with debris from the roof damaging a pickup truck.

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Gusts close to 60 mph prompted closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge linking St. Petersburg to Manatee County. At the Outrigger Beach Resort at Fort Myers Beach, a section of a roof was blown off one building and landed on another. Street flooding was reported in Hillsborough County.

Emily is expected to travel out to sea and dissipate fully in the Atlantic by Thursday. No serious injuries have reported from the storm.

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