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Tropical Storm Claudette Forms

Tropical Storm Claudette officially formed over the Central Gulf Coast early on Saturday morning.

 In an update released by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, meteorologists noted that the system had gained enough organization around its center circulation to be considered a tropical storm.  Claudette was located about 45 miles south of New Orleans early on Saturday morning and was producing sustained winds of 45 mph.

Hazards and impacts posed by Claudette remain unchanged: Heavy rainfall and flash flooding are expected to continue east of the center of circulation, over parts of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle on Saturday. In addition, as rain bands wrap onshore, brief tornadoes could spin up over these same areas: The National Weather Service offices have issued a Tornado Watch from Hancock County in Mississippi to Okaloosa County in Florida.

Claudette is forecasted to track east-northeast into Lower Mississippi and Alabama Saturday, likely weakening into a tropical depression by early Sunday morning. It should then push through Georgia before exiting the Carolinas sometime Monday. Heavy rain, flash flooding, tropical storm wind gusts, and brief tornadoes are all expected in these areas over the next few days.

After the system exits the Carolina coastline early next week, warm waters from the Gulf Stream could assist it in re-intensifying into a tropical storm. Rough surf and high seas could impact the Northeast Coast by the middle of the upcoming workweek. 

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Megan Borowski