Tropical Storm Emily weakens as it reaches Florida Gulf Coast

This post was originally published on this site

(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Emily dumped heavy rain over much of Florida on Monday but was expected to weaken after making a morning landfall on the state’s west coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

No injuries or major property damage had been reported. Several school districts curtailed summer programs and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, part of a major north-south interstate freeway, was closed because of high winds.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 31 of the state’s 67 counties to allow for easier cooperation between agencies. By midday, no evacuation orders had been given, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Emily, the fifth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall on Anna Maria Island near the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. At 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) the storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (72 km).

The storm is expected to continue moving eastward as it weakens to a tropical depression and on Tuesday morning enter the Atlantic Ocean in east-central Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

Along Florida’s west coast from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area south to Naples, rainfall of 2 to 4 (5 to 10 inches) was expected, with some isolated areas getting as much as 8 inches (20 cm) of rain, the National Hurricane Center said. Other areas in southern and central Florida were to get 1 to 2 inches of rain, the center said.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jonathan Allen in New York and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Grant McCool