Nestor Spreading Wind, Rain and Storm Surge along Florida Gulf Coast
October 19, 2019
A storm named Nestor is approaching the Florida Panhandle and will spread wind, rain and storm surge along the Florida Coast as far south as the Tampa region. As of 1000AM Central Time this morning, Nestor was centered around 70 miles south-southwest of Panama City and produced maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
The National Hurricane Center classified Nestor as a tropical storm on Friday, but changed that classification to “post-tropical cyclone” on Saturday morning. Such classifications have to do with the internal structure of the storm, but will not change the wind and flood impacts along the coast.
Nestor’s wind speed is not likely to increase before landfall. This means wind damage should be minimal, although tropical-storm force winds in the 40-55 mph range are strong enough to bring down tree branches and cause power outages.
As Nestor is forecast to pick up forward speed, it should not stick around long enough to produce flooding rains. A widespread region of the Southeast U.S. should see 1-2 inches of rain, with portions of Georgia and the Carolinas observing 2-4 inches. These rains will mostly be beneficial, as the region has experienced severe drought in recent weeks.
Storm surge levels have already exceeded 3 feet above normal astronomical tides from Apalachicola to Cedar Key. The surge could exceed 4 feet in Apalachee Bay, where the concave shape of the bay and shallow offshore water combine to efficiently generate storm surges.
The map above shows maximum observed storm surge levels and peak wind speeds so far for this storm, as well as the area likely to be impacted with tropical storm force winds. This map will be updated throughout the storm on the U-Surge Project website. U-Surge is the U.S. storm surge database and provides the first data-driven coastal flood risk analysis from Texas to Maine.